Poems by DS Maolalai


Houses on the Clontarf waterfront

utility in crystal,

these windows

of stacked rows, bowled

against the ocean

blowing in. like

going to a bar

on saturday

on a sunny


and looking over

the upturned pintglasses,

settled in steadiness

and catching

wet light, fresh-washed

and glistening

on their rubber-nippled


an awareness

of possible


good weather,

eventual storms.



On reading Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend

it’s very put together –

very much like a movie,

and I am sure

they are planning one soon.

at the climax, a woman

watches her friend in a bathtub

on the morning of her long-awaited wedding. much

made of shoes – surely

a symbol of something. and much also

of sex also – the wanting of it,

the not having it,

the being

disgusted by it.

and now and then

a flash of something;

like fish underwater

bursting at gnats. there is something there

by way of a soul,

but not much

and not enough anger

in unacceptable ways.

just a beautiful

empty house

built by workmen

sold to a lawyer

overlooking the sea.



Coming back

coming back in

(from another day

spent answering phonecalls

and emails, minding

somebody’s business

in an open-plan office,

airy and instant

coffee) made once again

more bearable:

the parking car, the stairs

and climbing them – this

tower I scale

each evening to open

our door. and you there,

my life in a kitchen,

frying a slice

of halibut with onions,

a steak with onions, golden

pasta, chinese

noodle soup. barefoot, tiptoe, the sun

setting on your bare

arms. setting as it does

over the river.

DS Maolalai has been nominated six times for Best of the Net and three 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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