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3 poems by Luís Costa

Epilogue on repeat

A dream that cannot

be told,

I have lived

today, too many times.

Holding this

frail weight of sadness,

washing off sour green

that clings as the taste

of scallions;

my hands heavy clouds,

torn teeth grinding like

scorpions fighting. Stop

the clock, I

want to get out. That is

not how the story goes.

Tomorrow, the sap still

dripping, my eyes

birth yet another storm.

My therapist once said

you’ll grow to love

the rain. If only she knew

that I just sink —

here, flowers never grow.


Daylight saving time


The clocks went back tonight

in the hallways of his house. We are


in two different languages.

He watches me swallow hedgehogs.

One by one. Melting under the roof

of my mouth.

Moonshine blades dance on our necks.

Until I become dawn,

his tongue will be my homeland.

Let me live inside

the glade where his collarbones begin.

Inhabit the skirtings

of wildflowers in his thighs. Uncurling

as ferns across his chest. A forest

festers, ready for blood at morning light.

Each second spent is a second gone.

Happy birthday, he is singing. And I wish:

to see him dressed in idle pink sunrise

again tomorrow.

My eyes moored

to his lips. A solar storm unravelling

into one hundred years more.

Crying at a bus replacement service


The flight was delayed. Enough

for two airport wines, two luscious

mistakes down a throat parched

for all the words he never told me.

Listen, absolutely anyone can cry

at boarding gates: chests as sandcastles

waiting for the waves, the tears roll

down like shells at the mercy of surf.

But now it’s me against this window

in a bus drowned in autumn. Outside,

the night wears black to mourn the day.

“Never let me go,” I said to him before

take-off. Now his absence is slowly stitched

to my skin by each mile gone, between

towns I never heard of. Perhaps he hides

in the void I left behind, tiptoeing

into the cavern of a wound. Or he will

discover how much coldness cotton holds

when a ghost patrols the bedroom.

My voice is bleeding like a stabbed

pomegranate. And a lonesome

road takes me to this place where he is not,

lulled by a foreign engine and the dry

comfort that only comes after weeping.

But remember this: no one cries

at a bus replacement service. Except me.

It’s a pathetic cacophony. I think of the birds

that will come back for a spring we’ll never see.


Luís Costa (he/they) is the author of Two Dying Lovers Holding a Cat (Fourteen Poems). His poems are available or forthcoming in Queerlings, Stone of Madness, Roi Fainéant, Visual Verse, Boats Against The Current, the anthology He/She/They/Us (Macmillan), and elsewhere. He holds a PhD from Goldsmiths and lives in London, you can find him on social media @captainiberia.


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