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Poetry by DS Maolalai


The pipework.

through the walls
the sound of flushing comes,
running like termites.
rushing water,
and waste;
the movement
of human things. 

this room is noisy - the pipes
go over my bed,
inches in
behind the plasterboard.
I can tell you
when everyone's had dinner,
when the people
in the next room over
have the runs.  

it feels good,
sitting here,
listening to the sounds
of movement through the house,
the satisfaction
of pipework,
put together
by human hands,
and doing its business. 

less good
when I think about the water stains
which spread
each month
like ivy,
but a little bleach
gets rid of the sight
and deals
with the smell


there's nothing much like it;
sleeping together
after you've got used
to each others bodies,
your legs
no longer play against one another
like hockey sticks
chasing the puck.  

there's something
like sinking
into a heated swimming pool
or feeling arms reach out
quietly in bed.  

such a fine chess-game,
knowing the moves,
the click of pieces,
simple as checkers.
we both play,
where the game is going
and early on,
how it's going to end; 

neither of us
coming here to castle;
king me
and do it now.


DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with DS over on the Orson’s Publishing blog.