All The Men I Never Married No.8

Kim Moore
It’s just me and him, alone in the staffroom
and he’s talking about a woman he hates. 
I bet she has a big pubic mound. I bet 
she’s covered in spiders legs.
He’s already on about the next thing wrong 
with his life, with his job, with this woman
he works with, while I think about the women
I know, how excellent they are at getting rid 
of things, experts in the endurance of pain.
Look at me now for example, sitting here 
not moving a muscle as I remember 
the first morning I took a razor to my face,
because the boys at school called me names,
my mum saying What have you done?
Once you start you can’t go back. 
There was bleach of course, the flame 
of it burning my skin, testing myself,
how long could I stand it, how much 
could I make disappear. The worst
was electrolysis, a tiny needle inserted 
into each follicle and one dark hair 
at a time wished away. 
Back in the staffroom 
he’s telling me the next time someone 
annoys me I should flash my tits,
miming the action while making a cuppa.
Milk, no sugar, I say with a smile
I hate myself for. I remember the times 
I heard that as a teenager: Get your tits out 
for the lads. It sounds obscene now 
but back then it was nothing, just one
of those things that boys said. 
In my first class of the morning
a small boy asks why I have hair 
on my lip and my stomach 
still drops like it used to but I answer 
calmly this time. All women do.
Your mum probably does. He looks
outraged, and how can I blame him?
This is what we’re teaching our sons. 
Page 78, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119
Issue 119

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119:

Edited by Vona Groarke

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119 includes new poems by 48 poets including Frank Ormsby, John Kinsella, Rachel Coventry, Aifric Mac Aodha, Gerald Dawe, Alice Miller and Claire Potter. Also included are translations by Richard Begbie and Kirsten Lodge, an essay on Bishop, Lowell, Heaney and Grennan by David McLoghlin, and reviews of Paul Muldoon, Paul Durcan, Sarah Clancy, Medbh McGuckian, Kate Tempest, George the Poet, and many more. The issue also features photography by Hugh O'Conor, Dominic Turner, Sheila McSweeney, Fergus Bourke and John Minihan.