“Carvery Lunch on Sunday” and Other Poems by DS Maolalai

Carvery Lunch on Sunday

the fish was fried
so thick you could crack it
like a drumskin, pulled tight
and hammered
very hard. and the gravy
on her lamb
was delicious – I took some. this was lunchtime
on Sunday, and we’d had a tense
weekend; what can I say? sometimes you fight a little
when you don’t have other plans.
and I had a sick cousin
and wasn’t dealing with it properly, and she
had some problems
as well. but the gravy was good, and the fish
and the chips were crispy; not those squashed
liquid things
you get when you order
chips. and I had coffee too,
and she a pot of tea. and I had some tea
when I’d finished my cup of coffee.

 

Lactose Intolerance

might help, sure,
with going vegan,
but it means
she eats
her toast
dry now
and drinks tea
black
and bitter.

I sit
eating cereal
and sipping my coffee,
watching her
make faces
at her breakfast.

 

No Tile So Cold

as a morning kitchen.
the dog yaps –
I bend
and put my hands
down on her face
and the back of her neck.

I feed her dogfood
and let her out
to piss somewhere
in the garden.
see the window;
watch the grass
bent beneath her steam.

I make coffee – move about
like a boat unmoored
and banging.
stumble over
chairs and thoughts
and make
new thoughts from them –

just instructions
going slowly
with method
to the hands. coffee
and toast – delicious. the dog
comes back in
and I throw her down a corner.

nothing so cold
as a kitchen in the morning.
I check my phone
for timing –
work out distance –

if I should leave
after pissing
or just piss.

 

Problems With Alcohol

my best friend again
is having problems with alcohol.
he’s finished his thesis
and become unemployable
because not many people
need a paleontologist
who with no real experience
and problems with alcohol. it’s interesting,
hearing his problems
over drinks when I get out of work.
he likes talking; I like listening to him talk. he is a poet
of rocks and forgotten animals. he tries
at museum work; fails at it. tries shop work
and only gets tired. he tries with alcohol;
some talent there. beer, spilled
on coasters, soaking with words
and certain knowledge. we are both
good drunks, or we try to be. one day his discoveries
will paint new walls. I mine him for phrases –
some of them go into poems.
when I pick him up
dressed well on the nights we go drinking
his dad loudly compares him
to me.

 

The Greenhouse

my grandmother’s house
like a shucked open oystershell.
I come by with baker
when he borrows my van – has been promised
a greenhouse
by my aunt for his place.

alone in thick gloves
my granddad worked here;
he once bred a flower
named for my gran.

baker’s brought stickers
to number the windowplates.
brought tools and machine oil
to move the few bolts.

once there were seedlings
and a yellow
box nursery – now gone,
and the spiders, though other things
have stayed.

together in gloves
we examine them carefully – try moving pliers
to fiddle with screws.
above us
thin rain
clouds the view of the garden. sometimes
find dried flowers
or a decomposing
spade.

—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).

For more of his poetry check out “Like False Hazel.”