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2 poems by Lisa Kelly


Little Odysseus sailing forth on your trolley,

as if your mother’s arms have the force of a strong wind.

You demand, ‘When can we go?’

but one of your crew is stuck looking inside drawers,

as a pig sticks his snout in the ground for truffles.

You come to a stop in an aisle without fair wind,

hopeless of home, half dazed by the CALYPSO ceiling lamp,

blandished with the promise frosted glass is pleasant for eyes. Lies.

The screws that bind us, always sold separately,

paid for with yet another coin.

Now your father’s hands are all over the ALLEHANDA mixing bowl.

How he marvels at the lid with opening for a whisk,

which reduces splatter when whisking, as if a precious piece of plate

of pure silver (except the rim which is inlaid with gold)

fired by Hephaestus’ own hand, is in his grasp.

‘I want to go,’ you scream, but some pitiless god of the deep

evil-eyed, is waylaying your return, while waves of shoppers

crash about your craft. You toss your seagull scarf

in temper. If only you could swim for it, but you are

so far from shore, and your mother has lost her pencil.

Delivery to ASPELUND

Don’t lose your way in the snow to ASPELUND

like being trapped in a white wardrobe,

ARVINN. Arrive intact at this Norwegian Arctic city,

reveal yourself, like a folding chair, to the city.

Hey presto! Like magic, you appear in ASPELUND

no longer up against the wall. Out of the wardrobe,

ARVINN, you can shrug off the ward robe

of white, which gapes like the wide roads of this city,

and take up space. ARVINN, this city is not ASPELUND,

ASPELUND is a stub, as a toe strikes against a wardrobe in a city.


Lisa Kelly’s first collection, A Map Towards Fluency, was published by Carcanet in June 2019. Poems have appeared in Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and Carcanet’s New Poetries VII. Her pamphlets are Philip Levine’s Good Ear (Stonewood Press) and Bloodhound (Hearing Eye). 


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