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This week in the town where my parents live and my sisters grew up, two men were brutally murdered. Having been to Castlebar many times I often saw one of them – Jack, a quiet man who was known well to the town. This poem is for him.

Kiss

Kisses

For Jack & Tom Blaine

Around the town he laid kisses.

Soft and wet they glistened on windows and doorframes.

They were his gifts, each one a puckered blessing.

Bent into a swirl he shuffled from street to street, a daily routine threaded into his soul like breadcrumbs.

New Antrim Street was his home, a small haven with an open door where he watched his world go by.

Everyone knew him. Locals greeted him with a nod often finding his eyes lost in the job of kissing.

*

His kisses are lost now, stilled by violence, their ghostly imprints scattered along the aching streets.

Soil waits to hold him, embrace with soft hands too used to harbouring sleep.

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