Living It Over
Had I not held his gaze a beat too long,
the soft sounds of night-breathing
would come from different children
or none at all; had I not hauled
my pack along a dotted line
through India, Nepal, I would not
sleep tonight in this city
of sapphire water, sandstone walls.
The major things I’d not alter.
But what of the small, tangential
threads leading nowhere in particular?
My head, shaken at the slender girl
who plied her best room
with an open palm: earthen floor,
bare windows to the Goripani sky?
A gift spurned, compliment disdained.
Yes, I would, in younger years
aspire to grace, if I had my time again.
Poaching stone fruit on the long weekend
A small, one-chef kitchen.
He wears sudsy cuffs, twirls taps.
I split ripe peaches, dark plums,
and drop them in a pan of sugar-syrup;
a cigarillo cinnamon quill,
vanilla pods that probe my appetite
like question marks.
He brushes past to collect
the breakfast things; sweeps
eggshell and bacon rind into the bin.
The peaches loosen in their skins,
plums fizz at a simmer.
My side-zip dress has riddled
his fingers into words:
What’s the point of having a zip
where my hands can reach nothing?
We pinball off the Caesarstone.
We taste of Fairy liquid
and fermenting juice.
Too old for kitchen bench
or table top, the marble tiles too hard,
we argue the toss:
You like being on top?
I do; you look like a boy.
I am a boy.
The stone fruit comes on to the boil
and the air is thick with lactones.
Sweet liquid spurts from the pan.
Audrey Molloy is an Irish poet living and working in Sydney. Her work has most recently appeared in The North, Mslexia, Magma, The Moth, The Irish Times and The Tangerine. In 2019 she received the Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry, the Listowel Writers’ Week Award for Irish Poem of the Year and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. Her debut pamphlet, Satyress, will be published by Southword Editions in early 2020. Find her here!
- Featured image, by Amar Saeed.