DS Maolalai

This air.

this air, you remark, 
doesn't feel like anything
so much as a gas 
gone through other 
people's bodies,
beaten black
and bright blue 
by these various 
exhausts. this

air – do you see 
how it clings to us,
needy as a young
cocker spaniel, 
tired and sweaty
as unventilated
sleep? do you smell
this air, you ask me,
do you see 
how it lands
and it makes my skin

redden? yes, I say standing
and breathing so deep
I could croak
a trombone, yes,
yes, I do see it.

People struggle

sky fractures and melts
like a mouth 
with a mouthful
of ice cubes. for days
its been offering
rain and withholding it. 
hot weather; the air
close as tiles
in an over-
used bathroom. 
in the street, people struggle
to get back inside – nobody
sits out on patios, 
nobody walks 
in the parks. I watch 
as the heat bends
and opens its zipper: 
rain falls with a clatter,
like a cat climbing up 
a piano. it shatters against
the immovable pavement
with shards going everywhere
like a dropped cup of coffee
landing on a kitchen-
tiled floor.

Why I came back to Ireland

I've long forgotten why
it was I came back 
to Ireland. I suppose
that I meant it
as a temporary
stop – my visa
gone in Canada
and applying 
for a USA
green card - a short
time with friends
while deciding
where next. 

I enter the kitchen
and you're there 
on your laptop
drinking some coffee, 
doing something for work. 

you're not really
the reason
why I came back
to Ireland. you're the reason
I'm staying here

DS Maolalai has been nominated eight 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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