Claire Hennessy



I am literally

Holding a sharp green Granny Smith in my hand

When I discover the boy who wants to fuck me

Has a girlfriend.


He tells me

I have done this before

I must have.


It has been two years since

A bruised heart


Anything beyond

Kissing strangers in nightclubs

As though anything beyond

Is not an option for this body.


I bite in. I make the plans

For where it will happen.


I have not done this before.


I learn now

How to do it again.




How to safely fall in love


Find a boy. Any unlikely candidate will do.

Welcome long-term girlfriends or incompatible sexual orientations.

He is suddenly attractive.


Find yourself self-conscious, wondering, dissecting every gesture.

He sits next to you, rather than opposite. Discuss.


Find in him things to admire you have known of before

but never been breathless over. Become breathless.

It will help if he is training to be a counsellor,

volunteers with underprivileged children,

spent summers in dusty desert terrain.


Find yourself lacking around him. Not smart enough.

Too talkative, too shy. Unpretty. Unworthy.


Find yourself at the bar with him. Do not sip.

Gulp your drink and the opportunity

with your jaw so wide it might crack.

Here in the world outside your head

a connection may spark

or a fantasy disintegrate.

In the morning you won’t remember which.




Claire Hennessy is a writer and creative writing teacher based in Dublin. She is the author of several young adult novels and is also working on a collection of short stories. Her work has appeared in wordlegs, Crannóg, Necessary Fiction, The View From Here, and Metazen. She can be found online at and on twitter (@clairehennessy).