3 poems – DS Maolalai [Poetry]

Flat Hunting

my new boots

weren’t quite waterproof,

but it hadn’t rained yet

either. I was

hurrying. this was September,

late last year. the air

had that heavy


and silken feeling,

sticky suspicious warmth;

the heat you get

right before

a thunderstorm.


my coat

was quite good

but my boots weren’t waterproof.

the sky was dark as a coalseam

and it split

like a lime on a bartop,


heavy round raindrops,

cold as petals

from a dead flower.

they splattered all over me, burst

underfoot. I was a migrant

vineyard worker,

stepping on grapes

for pennies at a time.


the coat

kept the worst off

and I was nearly there,

but my step kept getting heavier

and my socks ran

to soaking. I had come

straight from work – running from the bus-stop

to get a first look

at the flat. the landlord was holding viewings

from 6:30 – everyone else

got off work at 5. each landlord in dublin

did this. there was a conspiracy,

I imagined,

to catch me with pneumonia. when I got there

the line had dispersed

and I could feel the beginnings

of blisters. the flat

was taken. some one-room pigeonhole

with a bathroom by the bed

and damp

burning the tiles

purple. I needed

somewhere. it would have



my hood had come off

in my hurry to view it.

a car went through a puddle

and somehow my trousers

got worse. such casual disaster

in the build to humdrum

catastrophe. I pulled up my hood

and tugged at the fabric,


to a pub near the bus-stop

for a quick pick-me-up




they seem really

to really have style;

really, that’s the

problem. curling

round your legs

and purring

sweet machineguns. they’re


and soft

and somehow

that’s enough.


nothing against

a wild animal

of course,

but these still kill

even after they’ve eaten,

and with no

provocation at all;

just joy

and a strange intent

to empty


of birdsong.


The Gas

I get back

after going out for wine

and find my vegetables

wallowing like hippopotami,

cold in their pot. sliced

on the chopping board

it is always

so fine – the carrots cubed,

potatoes falling in two,

white parsnips and fresh green

broccoli, sweet

as treetops in spring.


then I get distracted again

and leave,

forgetting to turn the gas on.


the water

is cold,

and not the live cold

of a glass when you’re thirsty,

but a dead cold, still

as a pavement puddle.


I can’t believe

my silliness

and sigh,

placing the wine on the table

to make some toast while I wait.

it clicks

and the butter melts

in heat against the knife,

soft enough

to leave most of the crumbs in the bread.


I open the wine,

turn on the radio

and then the gas

in that order.


By DS Maolalai

  • DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.

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