Milk and Tar by Cathal Gunning

Milk and Tar

Love undulates
Subcutaneous
Driven into the bloodstream

Love resurfaces
A protrusion
Insistent

I’d never heard of
A wraith
We have banshees
Where I’m from

(Not a competition)

There were
Orange pools of streetlight
Illuminating
Pools of shiny darkness

Tar softened
Underfoot
The earth itself
Rendered malleable

Her heels
Left no soft trace
When she walked across
A peripheral blur

And I can’t say
When I saw her
I can’t say why
I was out so late

Why the street
Was so silent
Why she smiled
When she saw me

Under the tree
Outside of the moon’s spotlight
After the suburban street ended
She smiled

A glint
Brighter than any moon
A peek of teeth
Barely parted lips

She skittered
Into the dark
Into the night
Bashful

You step into the streetlight
Right?
(Who wouldn’t)
(Don’t answer that)

Then remember
There were no footprints
In the summer softened tar
As your own heels sink in

Something clinging
Beneath them
The darkness empty
No smile inside


Cathal Gunning (25)
Editor-in-chief- ColdCoffeeStand
Senior editor- Adbusters
Poetry- The Rose, LaganOnline
Fiction: Tales From the Forest, The Honest Ulsterman, The Runt, Snakes of Various Consistency, The HCE Review, The Occulum, The Weary Blues, TRAIN, Funicular
Shortlisted- Maeve Binchy Travel Award, Hennessy New Irish Writing
Debut novel- ‘Innocents’ (Solstice, 2017)


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haunting and horrific poetry and fiction since 2017

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