DS Maolalai

We’ll never know now

what the rest would have said
at the end of it –
the dissection by each
of the other. after you’ve packed
you go drinking out somewhere
and your friends tell you finally
what it was they’d been saying

in private – “she seemed sort of superior,
I have to admit” “controlling”
“not witty” “I’m glad that she won’t
be around”. “a bit smug though,
wasn’t he?” “he was sort of a try-hard”
“I once saw him look
at my legs”. I’ve always looked

forward to it –
can’t help but love gossip
and gossiping. it’s why I write
poetry; just talk with the laptop, the editor
reading my rags. and I know you
do too, and I must say, I’m sorry.
but our friends are too classy –
it’s really unfortunate –
to say it with the wedding
coming up.

Hospital maintenance.

fire and wood
and nights alive in hospital.
and you’d go out
for a smoke
or just some air or something
and meet someone
out of an evening
fretting about family
or trying a dodge
the mental ward.

and you’d talk a little,
share a cigarette,
make them feel ok
if you could, then go back in
and call a porter
to stay with them
and check
they were alright to be wandering.

it takes working there
a long time
to know
in a hospital
that security is always on standby
and that everyone who works there
on guard for a fight.
the room we were in though
was safe
behind locked doors
and the coffee shop
and we just watched footage
and kept an eye on the lifts.

things break
in hospitals too
and it’s not easier to fix them
than it is
anywhere else.

DS Maolalai has been nominated nine times for Best of the Net and five 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)