Berni Dwan’s first collection, Frankly Baby, was published by Lapwing in 2018. In 2017, she won second prize in the Johnathan Swift Creative Writing Awards. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award. She performed her one-woman show, Unrhymed Dublin, in the Smock Alley Theatre 2016 Scene + Heard Festival. Her show The Seven Ages – Like It or Not features in the 2020 Scene + Heard Festival. Berni produced and presented The A to Z of Historical Blunders on Near FM radio. Her work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times New Irish Writing, The Galway Review, Crannóg, A New Ulster, Stepaway Magazine, Crossways Literary Magazine, The Rose Magazine and Dodging the Rain.

Arrivals and departures

One round trip from Blackrock to Coolock on a
wet blanket January morning brings more than
yawning windscreen wipers, distracted pedestrians,
bullish bicyclists. In

the lovely neighbourhoods of my hometown, the
red lights bring me up short; the green lights set me free. I
witness a snapshot of arrivals and departures. Packed

commuter trains shuttle reluctant drones from
warm beds. Cargo ships head for Dublin port. A
ferry doggedly paddles through the murky Irish Sea towards
Holyhead; that destination seems exotic on this
leaden, winter morning. I yearn to be a stowaway, but
motor on. Real-life soaps distract me. Dazed

apprentice parents stumble out of maternity hospitals with
their miniature progeny. Blue busses deliver freshly
minted tourists to budget hotels, return wiser travellers to
airport terminals. Funeral homes are bustling departure
lounges. Church yards host sombre, huddled groups, bidding
farewell to one they knew. The

simultaneous airborne, seaborne and earthbound exits and
entrances clash. Six foot below, or seven miles above –
permanent residency or temporary stay; it’s all in a day’s work for
undertakers and pilots, midwives and sailors. This

town welcomes its fresh deliveries; waves off its transient lovers;
sings a grateful goodbye to its old stalwarts.