Coral Atkinson's Writing
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Coral Atkinson > Writing > Dublin Bay - page 1

Dublin Bay

When Michael was a kid, eight, maybe nine, his mother Bridget stood at the bench in her New Zealand kitchen, holding a Black Doris plum in the light.

‘Look,’ she said, ‘Michael look.’

Michael glanced up at Bridget’s hand, the pearl pink nails and the plum suspended like a mysterious swarthy drop between finger and thumb.

‘It’s like that, the Liffey’s like that. The river has that sort of dark bloom on it.’

Michael rests his pack against the corner of the bridge and looks down at the water. Rain shudders against him and the splash tide of cars sprays across the pavement. It’s dark all right, dirty more likely, he thinks peering at the river, and there’s no obvious bloom.

Hanging further over the side of the bridge, the young man takes a long sniff. There’s a smell of car exhaust and dampness like rotting carpet. Michael stares at the sombre corridor of water and wonders why he came. Earlier this morning as he stood at the rail of the ferry, he’d felt a wild exhilaration.

‘Sweet, sweet,’ he had said beneath his breath, as Dublin Bay articulated itself through the gloom.

Now, as Michael heaves the pack on his shoulders and walks on, he feels nothing but disappointment. It is New Year’s Day. The city wet and desolate. Even the shop fronts are obscured by grills.

Title page of The Dubliner

The first page of Coral's short story Dublin Bay, as it appeared
in The Dubliner (October 2001).

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