Carolann North


Red was always your colour.
Standing under the carmine sign of O’Connells
balanced precariously against the door
you smoked roll-ups and laughed in breathy howls.

Jonny poured your cranberry vodkas dangerously sweet
and your chilli hot lips left marks
against the rim. Life was indiscrete
in its warnings back then. Those candy kisses

burned through me when I stole you home.
We were equally ravenous, but you consumed me
like tinder stock. I should have known
you could only love in degrees.

I’m cindered carrion, pecked clean by cold regret.
You glow in carmine, burning a cigarette.


Carolann North is an award-winning poet and doctor of English literature at Ulster University. Her work is on permanent exhibition at C.S. Lewis Square, Belfast. She has been funded by ACNI, the Department of Communites, and the University of Atypical, and her debut poetry collection will be launched in late 2021. Most recently, she was the editor of Phenomenal Women: A Creative Writing Collection which aimed to highlight the voices of female ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland.