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2 poems by DS Maolalai

White wine.

I feel a little better

when the second glass

goes down. it's an open question

if I write better also,

but at least

I get freer –

more willing to hurt

the feelings of friends

and openly talk shit

about ex-

and current girlfriends.

A counterweight

rattle. tap tap tap.

I woke. 3am.

fingers in my ribs.

can't you hear?

my girlfriend asked –

the storm? I rolled over,

listened. heard. outside,

wind pushed trees

cracking like elbows

in a bicycle accident.

pulled down rooftiles

like hangnails.

in the room next to ours

we'd left a window open.

some laundry hanging

out – air in. it was banging

loose now – against the frame,

the frame: a rattle. tap tap tap.

we went together, all lights off

but curtains flapping open,

the warm salt of street-

lights shining, coming in.

I reached out, took the handle

like the leg of a bird

flying over. the gap

below me, courtyard

cobble some way down –

and then her hands

around my waist,

a counterweight of sorts.

I felt the wind, the warmth

of arms and belly on my back.


DS Maolalai has been nominated nine times for Best of the Net and seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He has released two collections, "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016) and "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019). His third collection, "Noble Rot" was released in April 2022


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