What to Get the Man Who Has Everything

His birthday rolled around again
the man with no hobbies
no interests
often no idea, so many years in, of his age

he told me not to waste my money
that he had no need
nor want
for anything
I insisted
he suggested socks
we laughed

in the end I got him a helicopter ride
a voucher that I slipped into his card
told him that all he had to do
was to pick a sunny day and make the call

he called a few weeks later
said that he had been up
said that it was great, just great
that he might do it again sometime
I asked if it was exciting
he said, “sure”
I asked if he had been afraid
he said, “a little”

it felt off
a little askew
I suspected that he had not been up at all
that the voucher remained
in his bedside locker

but I suppose
we both got we wanted
I got to imagine him up there
hovering, seeing the world all over again
the roar of the rotors
his heart
fire all through him

and he
got another afternoon
in his armchair

 

Man, Versus Fly

The fly had been at me all morning
I was sick of him
but he couldn’t get enough of me
landing and dancing
on the hairs of my shins
my knees and forearms
even landing on my forehead once

I tried to guide him out of windows and doors
with my hands, a book
even my voice
Come on! Out you go! There you are, just out the win…come on!
no chance
eventually I found myself chasing him
with a small handheld vacuum cleaner
running about the kitchen
chasing a fly
with a handheld vacuum cleaner
in a pair of shorts and Crocs
on a Tuesday morning
is apparently
what I had come to

I outsmarted him in the end
in the epic battle
of man, versus fly
I turned my back to him
lowered my shoulders
pretended to walk away, defeated
before I heard him buzzing toward me
I whipped around, pulled the trigger
hoovered him up and got him, I got him

only to feel it
buzzing in me
guilt, real and immediate
looking in the dust compartment
he was still flying, still buzzing
invincible apparently
I opened a window
relieved, not a killer
held the vacuum cleaner outside
clicked open the dust compartment lid
watched him fly away
watched him turn and fly over my head
and back inside

in the end I swatted him with a rolled-up magazine

 

Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He is the author of two chapbooks and three poetry collections. Twice winner of Irish Times‘ New Irish Writing, his numerous publication credits include Poetry Ireland Review, Acumen, Prairie Fire, Westerly, and Into the Void. He has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poet, and The Pushcart Prize.