This poem is a lungfish:

won’t do much today
and will also be
quite ugly,
all gasping eyes
looking and blinkered
in the air of a world
it doesn’t understand.

an unnatural presence
pulled halfway out
from god’s dirty
beersoaked fingernails,
left to flop sideways
away from the sun
in pure pretense –

and if it has a colour
it is be brown as cellar water,
and if it has a shape
it is be lumpy and confused
slumped against a backdrop
of things mostly unremarkable,

if it has a mind
it will concern itself
with nothing much more
than the push forward,
and the hope that the point
at the end of the gutterslide
will suddenly bring full cities to bare
as exposed bones of the future
straight out of the earth

and their inhabitants
but a few more poems
remembering that first gasp
and the wet slap
of hands on wood.


A wasp sting

chrys made a call
to a friend about the wedding
and took care of the dog
with its stitches.
I was doing the garden
dressed in thick clothes,
shortening the grass
and cutting back the hedges.

that morning
we’d wandered
to the park for a wander
and gotten our breakfast
at this 8am cafe
open now for the summer
in the renovated stables. everywhere
elderly chinese couples
exercised like dancers,
stretching in fresh
summer linens. and the dog
was still fresh
with the cone just removed
and not bothered much
by her wound. we’d had bagels
with vegan cheese, a minor fight,
black coffee.

I thought about it, imagining
victory, and filling the bins
with broken leaves and branches,
trying to ignore
conversations with my neighbour
and a wasp sting
when I cut close
to the nest.


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).