How to tell my father I want to be an accountant

Fiona Dignan

My father’s fingers are sequinned with the scales of his labour. On the quay, he ices his haul, the herrings’ eyes blank as amnesia.

The nets have trawled too long. This is a village of decline, of relics and rusted pots. I dream of cities landlocked in the bounty of concrete and glass. Where my fingers work the keys of different nets. Where data shoals like quicksilver across the continents. The haul of net profit.

My father stares at the desert dunes of sea, turns to me, tells me he already knows the last of the boats have come in.


Fiona Dignan started writing during lockdown to cope with the chaos of home-schooling four children. This year, she won The London Society Poetry Prize and The Plaza Prize for Sudden Fiction. In 2022, she was longlisted for the Reflex Flash Fiction Autumn Prize and EHP Barnard Poetry Prize.