Poems by DS Maolalai


scratching my face

in the morning. I am

a broken plate – certain edges

you can’t smooth

and then

they’re useless

to eat off. some

look good with stubble – I don’t even


to look good

shaved. I think

it’s the sharp chin,

swimming in life

like a shark through water. I try my best

but what of it? my electric razor

hums in the morning

and breaks against the challenge

of making me

more beautiful. all its value

lies in making the silence




at 5pm

I shift the table

from the corner

into the middle of the kitchen. it is waiting

for a plate of salad eggs, a brown bowl

of chorizo stew

and everyone to sit around

and yell. I am used to this – parties,

not hosting – but chrys knows

where things should go. I let her

do it, but still, I am embarrassed

when the guests arrive

and see the new place – uncomfortably aware

that suddenly the garden

smells of dogshit

my bedroom

is full of laundry.



I sent a message through facebook:

do you know how to reach

pat ingoldsby?

I had book of poems coming out in the spring

and I was hoping he would maybe

say something

I could put on the back cover.


I got a message back:

we don’t know

how to reach him

but he sells his books on college green

under the central bank

you can just talk to him there

if you want to talk to him


I sent a message back:

I’m in canada right now;

the book is coming out in america

I can’t meet him in person

do you think you can get a copy to him

I have attached a pdf

that the editors have sent me

hoping I can get endorsements

from well known poets


no response.


I suppose perhaps

he didn’t like what I had written

or they had decided not to show him

or he had cycled once

down along college green

and up

george’s street

and down

through an unbalanced

manhole cover.


I’ve gotten back to Ireland since

and I haven’t seen him

selling his books anywhere.

I hope something good

has happened to him.




DS Maolalai has been nominated 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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