poems by DS Maolalai

City nights.


the flesh of the moon

is a thin slice

of apple: browning

and fingered

on a plate

in a toddler’s



streets grubby,

rain down slick;

tears which weren’t

properly wiped.




For Dani


dani – forgive me; you’re in

another poem. and I hope

it’s the last one, but there’s things

there I’ll never get right. you,

for example: we only met

three times, and each one

was quite different.


I tried to finish this – I did –

describing times

in order. didn’t work.

I hope you’re still

alive, and that we don’t meet ever,

any time, in any field any-

where, surrounded

by any dandelions.




Walking into town


people all over –

like dropping a jar

from counter to clean

kitchen tile; watching as coffee

grains roll. I am one

amongst thousands

and we have nowhere to be. work

sometimes on Monday.

until then

we’ll while time away

making our lives seem





Buddha’s delight


it’s february. meal-

time and chinese

new year. my fiancee’s invited

my family, some

of her friends. can’t go

home this year

(covid, of course)

so she wants them to see

what new years


are otherwise

like. and the table’s

been pulled out – there’s rice,

there’s some small bowls

of vegetables.

a marinade chicken,

some marinade pork.

a helping of tea

and a helping of soup,

and a scoop each of something

called buddha’s delight.


she sits here, delighted,

while my white irish family

pass bowls back and forth

like trains going into

a junction. my sister

has travelled, is somewhat

familiar – the rest

are surprised and quite

interested. polite at some

times, other times


they know what’s expected

by hosts.


and around

all these hanging

red ornaments. these tea

cups and bottles

of half-finished wine.




Freshness and flavour


a sprinkle of snow – no

not a sprinkle – just

one of those days

when the air

takes some zest:

a bit of a sparkle,

a bit of an appetite,

like a scratch on the back

of a pocket-sized

mirror and an edge

to your breath;

just some bite there,

you know? some


some sparkling

flavour. unsure

what to wear

you go jacket

no gloves

and the mountains

to the south

look blue,

very close.

poems by DS Maolalai

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