Don Juan O’Donnell – by Susan Kelly


He slides a bottle along the bar,
its neck sliced with a wedge
that sharpens the taste that dulls his perception.
Its wet tracks dampen her mood
as he falls on top of her
and her elbow soaks up his guff
and the gush of beer splatters the silk
that invites him.
He’s loaded at midnight,
spent by three.

Cold chips litter the floor
and quieten his step as he creeps behind her;
he flings food into his mouth
and makes scratchy noises with the straw in his plastic pint of Coke.
He lunges to dot her blouse and blot his chance
as the silk sticks to her back.
Outside he holds up the wall of the take away,
sometimes letting it slip away.
Smouldering ash
flakes onto his curry-encrusted chin,
giving him the look of being cut.

She appears in her beered and curried blouse,
her face full of disdain over the latest stain.
She disappears as the wall rejects him
in a sudden loss of footing.
Don Juan O’Donnell stumbles from the dying neon,
suspended in a stupor
in a parallel universe near home,
between a rock and a ditch
on the Leenaune road.





Susan Kelly is from Mayo. Her work has appeared in Cyphers, Crannóg, Revival, Abridged, The London Magazine, Boyne Berries, The Stoney Thursday Book, Burning Bush 2, Short-listed for Writing Spirit Award 2010, featured reader at Over the Edge in Galway 2011, shortlisted for Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2013 and longlisted for WOW award 2014.