Dandruff rests on the forests of your shoulders, brushed away like time onto the floor where it can never be collected and repurposed, or relived. I remember swinging from your paint-licked limbs when I was still small enough for you to bear my weight. There’s ash on your boots from the cigarettes I thought you’d stopped smoking. You always told me you’d spent the day walking through fires that couldn’t be extinguished, only painted into new dimensions or folded down to lesser temperatures, just enough to melt the dandruff on the shoulders of your uniform. You told me if I looked closely enough, I’d find every house was on fire and the people inside were only safe because you’d painted it away, or folded it down until it couldn’t be felt. Now your uniform gathers dust on a hanger in the wardrobe where you keep your old things, unworn, fireproof, flecked with dandruff and paint. You told me the world was burning and we could only keep it away for so long. Your tenure was over. Mine had just begun.
Ronan Fenton is an Irish writer living in Dublin. He has an MA in Creative Writing from UCD and a BFA in songwriting from BIMM. He writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and art criticism, and is querying his debut novel.