‘Silk Cut,’ A Poem by Nick Laird

From His Collection Feel Free

July 9, 2019  By Nick Laird

I was five and stood beside my dad
at a junction somewhere in Dublin
when I slipped my hand in his
and met the red end of a cigarette

but now our hearts are broken
we walk down to the Braeside
where we can get a proper pint
and his voice tears up a bit

about the emptiness in the house
and we are going home, waiting
at the turn for the traffic, when I find
I have to stop my hand from taking his


“Silk Cut” reprinted from Feel Free: Poems. Copyright © 2019 by Nick Laird. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Nick Laird
Nick Laird
Nick Laird is a poet, novelist, screenwriter, and critic. His many honors include the Eric Gregory Award, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His fourth collection of poems, Feel Free, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Derek Walcott Award. The Seamus Heaney Professor of Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast, Laird lives in London and Ireland.

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