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DS Maolalai


on the pavement, newspapers

play pages and shift position

like foxes in daylight.

the birds go in circles

in the supermarket carpark,

caught in the rotation

of indecisive winds.

the weather is moving. big clouds

come eastward;

horses on falling hills.

ahead of me

the dog looks uncomfortable

as the pressure goes downward

and I feel it too – the inside of my skull,

expanding old fractures.

I suppose,

if you wanted to be dramatic

you could call these things

omens, or a sign

of things to come.

but things come anyway, certainly

as we come home, and I open the gate

to frantic dogscratch,

and it comes and falls on me suddenly,

in spite of warnings. like a train

to a man in the station

who's only been looking at the display.

Strong Alcohol

she’s going away

the first time

since we’ve got here.

has a hotel booked—

just her and a friend

and masseuse. and I’ve

made the offer

to take care of the dog

and to water our balcony

garden. the small

kind of favour

that's easy

to make.

and she said

as she left

you'll be alright

without me? and I said

she'd get home,

find me dead

of strong alcohol,

having finally written

the one immortal poem

from which

I've been disturbed

so many times before

by her coming

to the office

to real quick

just grab the vacuum

and casually check

on how I might

be getting on. I didn't,

of course – you'd

have heard of it.

the apartment

buzzes loudly

like a foot

through a wasp-


my elbows

and fingers away

from the keys.

I walk in the kitchen,

desperate as one

lonely flower,

coming up through a crack

in the pavement.

DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019)

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