Why you never left a tip

by | Apr 6, 2021 | Fiction, Issue Twenty

Amuse Bouche

You were conceived, quickly, against a dance hall wall to ‘You are always on my mind.’ Your mother didn’t come.


You emerged, slowly, on a rainy morning to cherry blossom branches scraping against the windows of the Rotunda. Your father didn’t come.

First Course

You smelt her skin, the skin of kin, but before she could put swollen breast to your puckered mouth, your grandfather signed you away. You wailed for touch, you cried for milk. They didn’t come.

Second Course

In the orphanage, you choked with colic while the untethered toddlers threw bits of broken jigsaw into your crib. You waited for a hand to draw you up. It didn’t come.


In a two up, two down opposite St Anne’s green, the older kids wanted you to play Twister, to eat ice cream cones from the bottom up. You found yourself allergic to touch, allergic to milk. You didn’t come.

Cheese board

In History you read about King Diarmuid’s decree: ‘To each cow, her calf. To each book, its copy.’ You asked your teacher why it didn’t apply to people. Her reply didn’t come.


On his death bed, your grandfather penned you a letter about the black hole in his family, about how he couldn’t make tea but the milk curdled. But your records were sealed. And his words didn’t come.

Read more Fiction | Issue Twenty

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