Containment

The glass, half-full, is cracked. I notice this
when I raise it to my lips and your face 
fractures beyond the rim. Sometimes 

we see what was not there before
or what was always there
but we were looking at the water

not the glass, which slithers from my hands, 
hurtles to the ceiling and explodes.
A thousand splinters glint around my head.

This poem first appeared in the anthology Dark Confessions (ed. Matthew M. C. Smith) Black Bough Poetry 2021.

Blood moon, visible

Who hears hyenas laugh
beneath a wounded moon? We are small,
man, small. Sweet taste of pears
and your absent breath. Let go
of unread books, of souvenirs
from unremembered holidays.
Switch off the news, the flames,
the words. Look to the sky
between the trees; 
windstill and clear.

This poem first appeared in the anthology Dark Confessions (ed. Matthew M. C. Smith) Black Bough Poetry 2021.

Citizen of nowhere

He looked at me across the counter, pen poised above the form, and asked where I was born. We had made good progress up till then. Name, age, gender, marital status, I knew all the answers. But now: where was I born? A silence floated in the ice-white hall and wobbled outwards like a slowly blown bubble. My breath was going nowhere. He asked again – Your place of birth? – and the walls dissolved into sunlight, straggled poinsettia bleeding white, mealies roasted in mopani embers, crack of msasa pods curled beneath my foot. Somewhere in a non-existent country. He was getting impatient, I could see, so I drew my coat a little tighter round my self and scrabbled to release my breath. In my mental fists I held two names, one in the past and one in the present. Which one should I give him? I opened my mouth and offered the name that was on the palm of my tongue.

This poem first appeared in The Stony Thursday Book no.16, Summer 2018, edited by Nessa O’Mahony.

Entanglement

Among vetch and dandelions,
hollow shells, inhabitants gorged 
by blackbirds whose songs tremble
in summer’s heat, you emerge - 
wrap around my calves, bind
my arms, entwine my throat, caress
my neck, my ears – insidious
as haar that creeps in from the sea
to steal the sun. Overhead, siren
insistence of oystercatchers, while
beneath the hawthorn bush 
a magpie tilts its head. Across 
years and continents, 
we cannot decohere.

This poem was first published in Dust Poetry in May 2021.