Patrick Cotter









Beware Malagasy girl. There’s too much white in me

to make a Dinka, even with you. See this one:


an obelisk of a man. Five boys with coltish limbs

could climb and cling from him as from a tree.


His skin black as this coiling eel in my ceramic sink; the map

of his body a riposte to a white supremacist’s delusional dream.


His rested cock pendulous and heavy as an iron chisel.

His tongue a skinned strawberry glistening on coal.


Place him in a Venetian square – watch him

negotiate the empty space as if still weaving a way


between the scimitars of his cattle’s white horns;

the cattle yet yielding milk from the dry season’s ashy earth.


The cattle of a Nubian Táin whose horned heroic head

sits on the shoulders of a pharonic god, minion


and messenger of Amun.  Dinka – giant man

so short in years none grow slack or grey:


sculpture of flesh perfect unto death. Choose me

and you will have white, white hair; a man


of uncooked dough to love you to the grave

white as the bones inside of me, the bones


you would dig up, dress in the reddest silk

so I would be benevolent after death


to our sons, who could not be Dinka.











Patrick Cotter was born in Cork, Ireland, and studied at University College Cork. For over a decade he has served as artistic director of the Munster Literature Centre, where he curates literary festivals presenting some of the world’s greatest contemporary poets and novelists. He’s the author of Making Music (Three Spires Press, 2009) and Perplexed Skin (Arlen House, 2008). He received the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry in 2013. In addition to poetry, he has written plays and fiction. Cotter lives in Cork, Ireland.

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