Brian Kirk – “Absence”

for Sally

Every morning I look for you,
even though I know you’re gone.
The places where you sat
still hold your image. I know
that it will fade in time, but not just yet.
I’m like a hermit of old in the desert
accosted by visions, interpreting signs,
looking for meaning that doesn’t exist.
I was happy to let you go, but I wasn’t prepared
for this loss: the punch in the gut, the ache
in the heart, as if you were my child.
You were a cat, a pet, an animal that lived
with us and could have lived without us
just as well. Without trying you did more
for us than we could ever do for you.

Brian Kirk is a poet and writer from Dublin. He has published a poetry collection, After The Fall (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and a short fiction chapbook, It’s Not Me, It’s You (Southword Editions, 2019). His poem “Birthday” won Poem of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2018. He blogs at


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