by Diarmuid ó Maolalaí 


daylight rolls
like trains on train tracks
onward, very steady,
very hot and business-

winter comes
brittle and thick soupy.
lather soaking upward
in a draft of rotten leaves. it piles,
warm as snoring animals,
curled like a croissant with coffee,
legs pressed up
against their chins. the year
ends in September
and begins again with April,
while, between those, sparks heaviness
and settles all over. cold
as a coat from the closet
which you haven’t worn in months.

I pull up the bag on my shoulder
and feel a light rain – not enough
for hoods, but enough
that the air becomes colder,
and fresher from flowers
everywhere. they rise;
the snapped efficiency
of umbrellas in a crowded street.


contacting a friend
in a foreign country.
watching the television
and not seeing any gunshots,
which means really
very little –
they hardly ever broadcast
things like that;
they just say
“still at large”. and Paris
is a beautiful city,
strung with stones
and wrought iron, as if somehow
they wished to remind you
of buildings built by hand.

in the dispatch room
guys make jokes
and swap links to various murders.
and it happens
here also – why should it not?
the text goes out
to no new answers.
I look for a while,
browse news websites
and then get back to work.


they’re selling the house
before I’ve had a chance
to see my flowers.

last year
I sowed my grandfather’s potato patch
with seeds I’d bought
in packets.
they said
“wildflowers”. I had a plan

for a meadow
or something like
a meadow – if it had been up to me
we’d have torn away
the grass. that year
things grew,

but only
where I’d put them. an image
of colour
still in someone’s
control. like realist
painting. I aim
for the abstract. air thick
with bees and pollenating
animals. a sweet smell. wildflowers.

I’d had an idea
which didn’t go anywhere, though perhaps
the next owners
will take it up. I remember
walking out each morning
with a coffee to look at flowers.

I remember
going to work
knowing I had flowers.


visiting my grandmother
and the lounge-light
lengthens yellow;
the air hot
and very dry,
the way they keep it
in nursing homes.

and the nurse
was attractive. my girlfriend
noticed me looking; made a joke about it –
how that’s why they kept her here,
working on the women’s ward,
to save her in the future
from my grabbing hands.

and we sat
in uncomfortable chairs, talking
about nothing
very much – the thing with alz.
being that even meager conversation
can be reused. and then there was
this woman,
in another chair
a few seats over. and she began
panicking – pulling at the hands
of her neighbor, screaming at my girlfriend
about how she wasn’t breathing right, about
“look how cold” she was. it was terrible,

this tragedy
without sense – like the last tree
falling down.
I got up, left them
and went to get the nurse. just make sure
it was all ok. and it was – the alz.
again. apparently
the lady who’d panicked
sometime thought the other lady
was her daughter
or something like that. she was confused,
heartbroken with the death of a child
years earlier.

they sat together
quite often,
and very rarely

About the Author:

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)