I don’t write you love poems anymore by Liz Quirke

All my words are kept for the children,

sequestered to chronicle little tempests and successes,

swaddles of coats and jumpers, boots slightly large

on feet as the oldest takes her chances

in every puddle she can find.


Instead of the resting hollow of your hip,

my words now know the fit of skull and cheek

against my shoulder, the weight

of each of our babies as they fall asleep.

I write the rasp of breaths lovely in my ear,

how pillows furrow with their heavy heads.


I compress this life into a collage

of simile and verse. Discover

that writing them is like carrying a lake

in my hands, too much lost

by the time pen meets page.


In our years together, love, I have written you

with all the heart a pen can hold, your warmth

recalled in every city we passed through.

Nights wrapped in hotel sheets

after hours drinking with strangers,

the heady risks of our early years.


These days those stories don’t fall easy into ink.

My poems exist in how small faces startle

when the light switch alters evening in the kitchen,

the way little fingertips pad a pane of glass

in the burnt umber twilight before the rain comes.



Liz Quirke lives Spiddal, Co Galway with her wife and daughters. Salmon Poetry will publish her debut collection “The Biology of Mothering” in Spring 2018. She is currently working on a collaboration with her wife, visual artist Yvonne Hennessy, in response to the themes of the collection. You can find out more on her website.

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