Poetry: ‘…sinking parts of me towards parts of them’ – Liz Quirke

An Áit Eile presents two wonderful poems, ‘Boluisce’, and ‘Teeth’, by Galway-based poet Liz Quirke.

Liz Quirke is 30 and lives in Spiddal, Co. Galway with her partner and daughter. Her poetry has been published in journals and anthologies including Southword, Crannóg, The Stony Thursday Book and The Ofi Press. She was shortlisted for the Cúirt New Writing Prize in 2015 and won the 2015 Poems for Patience Competition.




I root my fingers, burying them back and down.

A twist into black, acidic soil,

deeper than anything man-made.


I push to the graves of the lake families,

generations who lived and died by the water.


I pay my respects in the only way I know,

by kneeling in the sodden earth

and sinking parts of me towards parts of them.


I do what no record does and remember their passing,

their assimilation back to the land.


I want them to teach me how to inhabit this place,

to reanimate and diffuse their knowledge into my urban bones,

our times merging under a canopy of living skin.






Your new teeth allow you to howl

like the quietest of wolves.


Small opinions rattle as bone appears

from under its tether of gum,

putty-soft enamel,

enough to split a sin of strawberries.


Your mouth renders you older,

mature in your twenty one week skin.

Pliable cheeks, ruddy topography

of your dimpled chin,


where reddened dribble runs in rivulets,

berry seeds in the corners of your lips,

semi-colons to your smile.


As you gain traction in the world,

more sure of your place in it,

your voice bears a weight,

chimes in with warbling pitch.


Working your fruit, you double-task

by tracking us around the kitchen,

safety in numbers, a pack mentality.


Not sure how to call us to heel

by your haunches,

you echo a return command,

nothing more than the clicking

and sucking of skin against muscle,


but we hear you all the same,

humming in blood,

freckling phrases into our skin

like braille.


Photo credit: Linda Ibbotson