The poetry of DS Maolalai

By DS Maolalai


Carver says

that there is a difference
in writing
“the wing of a starling”
and “a starling’s wing”
and the bushes were hairy in the afternoon
and succulent with thawing frost
and 2pm sunshine
and he came out
and landed in front of them,
flat claws on tarmac
and his wings at an angle to his body
and he bobbed
flirting and preening with the breeze
and his feathers were down oiled
like a man’s hair
and he twitched,
his movements sudden
but unhurried.
the cars were all asleep in the day like low cattle
and the whole yard was quiet
as a held breath.


Landing on my hand like honey

comes cool
through the beer
and it lands
on the side of my
like honey –
and I am looking
at the side of a blue plywood tabletop
and examining it for gashes
while outside
a purple red sky threatens rain.
I am in a cheap jacket
in a cheap cafe
on the road somewhere between london and bristol
waiting for a bus
that will take me the rest of the way
on a cheap
one stop-off ticket.
across the road
flowers in the verge have been planted
and shaped by
a man
and pushed into the ground,
their colours regimented
like ranks of soldiers
drawn up
in a time
before camouflage.

DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working for a medical supply company and his nights drinking wine. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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