Dog dad

we don’t want children –
we’ve decided that.
but we’ve gotten a dog,
and I do
understand. not that I’d ever
call myself “dog dad” –
jesus, I have
some dignity. just

this thing though; this small ball
of dependence
ambling the kitchen. walking around,
whining and bothering,
with eyes so big
they could burst.



like pinning a patch
on the sleeve
of a jacket, the city
bears down
with its steel
toward the sea. I drive out
each morning,
west at 6am
on the M50
seeing the grey
and the endlessness
as it tacks up, endless
to new ends. the mountains
south of dublin;
even there
they have traffic
now, and the radio
doesn’t lose station. I hammer
my finger and push
it past jazz
and to classicals. mean
as a losing tobogganer
I slide into fifth
and slide forward, switching attentions
and stitching past lorries
which crowd up
like mountains


Connolly Station.

coming by carriage
to Connolly
and the trains fit their junctions
snug, like houses
in a street, and bricks
in houses.

around the tracks
dandelions slam up, forcing their way
through inches of stone thickness.
bridge walls creep, coloured
with moss and old spraypaint, broken masonry
black and applied
grime. grey rocks,
all blankets, lost shirts
and the scattering of root
sorrel. pigeons everywhere.

on the platform,
feet, which bang about
like chickens
released from coop.
they muddle around
and move forward – rush
in one direction
and back.


A man and no damn story.

all I do is search
for meaning
which isn’t there. like blackbirds;
those are only
blackbirds. and a man
is just a man,
and no
damn story at all.
I wake up in the morning
and you’re up earlier
because the dog was in the kitchen
and barking to be let out. and I stretch,
and you come next to me; you’ve
brought her along
and she cuddles in between us. and you say
“I made coffee, do you want
some coffee?”
and I do.
and it’s just a cup
of instant coffee, and nothing else
but that.



sky’s alive. all spring the trees
have been screaming. now
it’s summer
and ugly’s grown colour
and begun its peeking
out. two nests – magpies
stylish, like lords
in black and white –
and sparrows, their serf’s heads
bobbing, scratching the dirty
vegetable patch.

it’s fascinating; I thought
that this happened later,
but they get their feathers
before the flowers
bloom. nothing to do all day,
at the bottom of the garden
I break a bagel
and construct a feeder
with rotten planking
from the shed. it nails together
quickly, wood as soft
as bird-down, crumbly
as breadcrumbs
and just as full
of bugs. it stands
almost an hour
before the nails buckle
and the sky above
bangs it to the grass.

anyway, not much point to my efforts;
I’m not what you’d call
a carpenter, and it rained this morning
heavily. what bird sings
for bagel-scraps
when the cobble path is glowing, muddy
with footsteps and slick
with stinking worm-skin?
it’s a delight
to stand by the window
and see them
swinging down.


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)

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