Tribute by Sinead Morrissey


Poetry by Sinéad Morrissey




It takes a thousand hours to shine at anything.

And if we haven’t spent night after night on the Reeperbahn


cranking our act so tight it stood up all by itself and walked,

we’ve come close, but we still fall flat.


We sweat inside our Sullivan suits. The early set is hell:

each song like a crackerjet firework, jettisoning its effects


inside its white-hot flurry of minutes before cutting out.

We can hear the gap—by a bit, by a notch, by a semi-step,


by a skip in the heart we can’t fix—no matter the hours

the prayers the floral tributes the slow dispensing of oil


at its feet. It’s a rainy January night in Belfast.

I need to tell my son when I see him about the lights


of another ferry across from ours on the journey over

like we were two boats holding hands.

12 October 2016