there are nights,
lately and ever more,
when the cars
sound sad and blue as cattle,
and walking home
drops heavy as gravel
aiming straight for the cherry cigarette,
and women’s eyes come at you like bullies
lined on the cheek with emphasized threats,
chiseled in pencil on an angry note
and pushed beneath the crack of your door.
these are the nights
of thunder and bad headaches and tiredness
and vegetables burned black to the bottom of the pan,
when the air is thick and tarrish sweaty
and the lights on the street are like white gnashing teeth
biting your face and your fingers and elbows.
smell gust up like flung around dogshit
and unwashed and slept in clothes.
people are nothing but monkeys,
hot stars with legs and crotches and jutting cocks,
god in his sudden furied negligence
brought lower and more hopeless than man.
I don’t know where the squirrels went.
the rain lathered down
like a sun full of buzzards,
leaving a cold skin skimming on the snow
and somehow leaving it colder,
getting it more in
and wrinkled elbowbend
than the dry air had ever managed,
even when it was frozen and,
more low on the thermometer than the water
which creeps on your socks.
and the treebranches felt it
you could see that in the motion
from even inside the house
and I dont know what death looks like
in long terms
but I could see it,
that image of wet-rot bark on living branches,
flaking, balding, disintegrating, empty,
ready to give
at a little finger-pressure.
and I dont know
where the squirrels went,
their sad eyes
and their fur
twitching over bodies
which moved like maracas
but dishcloth soaked.
and it came down
in clinging sheets,
DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights looking out the window and wishing he had a view. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.