Two Poems by D S Maolalai

Croke Park, July 14th

crowds roll like rivers
or beetles from a broken log,
showing heads upward
and catching in a wake.
streets all blocked
and I maneuver
around blue jerseys, around
red jerseys, angry

it’s summer, july
and halfway through the year – six months
since snowmelt
and the spiked souls
of dead christmas trees. winter for holidays,
summer for sports; every season
a reason to see family. and families flow

around me, all eating hotdogs
and ham sandwiches; children
holding flags, fathers
draining the last
of a warm bulmers can. I push up into mountjoy,
and leave the crowds, then make
a 3 pointer. pulling space
like a man
working at a logjam,
trying for home
in any direction.

The tired animal

the cut came
somewhere around 7:30. I wasn’t used
to the van yet –
it was raining, I was distracted
and hadn’t noticed
I needed petrol. I was on a roundabout;
things were going slow
and luckily
we were near a station. I pushed to the verge
under the orange lamp
of streetlights,
out of the way
of traffic
and jammed it in, ramming the handbrake
upward. I was sweaty, wet with the rain
which bounced off the surface
of the van,
the embarrassment,
and effort
of getting it up the slope. the creature stood there,
stubborn as a tired animal
with its ass out
and I kicked the wheel – I’d seen people
do that.
bought a gas bottle
and filled it up,
dodging spots
of gasoline.
they flicked at my legs, jumping like rain,
like fleas.


DS Maolalai has been nominated four 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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