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Three poems

We Take Turns

she cooks magnificently.

fried rice with eggs,

spices and sliced

chorizo. roasted broccolli

and hot pepper. delicious

butter chicken. sunsets.

I sit at the table and watch

as my food

is brought in red bowls. hot and ready

and built of skill. I'll wash;

I don't mind - not much of a cook

but I feel good

being useful. she brings wine as well,

and afterwards

we have chocolate.

we take turns; when it's mine

she chooses a place

for our take-out.

The Legs of Wasps

over the coast road

cranes turn slowly,

mechanical as the legs of wasps. once

in canada

one of them got in

through an open window;

landed right

in my wineglass.

I fished her out

and put her on the table, then got up

and grabbed another glass

to place on top. she lay

on her side, drenched

and sweating - I watched her legs

move slowly,

and the segments of her body.

chitin, weighted

like steel machinery; the way they paint it in stripes

to warn

construction. After a while

she woke up

and began walking in circles.

I up-ended the glass

and crushed her on the table.

and they say

the smell of dead wasps

attracts live ones. I finished my wine,

got up

and closed the window.

A Weak Candle

taking the coast road from town

as one would pick up change

from a counter; casually, without

motivation. and the car moves steady,

and natural as a trotting dog. once

I took this route

to visit an old girlfriend.

this was college -

she lived in bayside

with some friends

and I'd take the occasional trip. now

it's just homeward, and she's in england

somewhere, and happy, and a long time

with someone else. to my right

the sky darkens

in contrast with the sun - amber firing

all over ireland, like a weak candle

flicking a dark room. I try the radio,

then turn it off, and lean back

and absorb the evening. I've just dropped off

my current girlfriend

in sandyford; something adulterous

in these sneaking

pasts. but the mind goes

where the mind goes;

certain directions

all the time. you can't stop it,

any more than horses. and daylight goes down too,

behind clontarf,

casts the shadows of trees

toward england.


DS Maolalai has been nominated three times for Best of the Web and twice 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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