Poems of the month

Maura By Thomas Lynch

She had never desired him in that way –
that aching in the skin she’d sometimes get
for a man possessed of that animal something.

Something outside of language or regret. No,
he’d been the regular husband, the hedged bet
against the bag lady and spinsterhood;

a cap on the toothpaste, the mowed lawn, bills paid;
a well-insured warm body in the bed,
the kindly touch if seldom kindling.

Odd then to have a grief so passionate
it woke her damp from dreams astraddle him –
the phantom embraced in pillows and blankets,

or sniffed among old shirts and bureau drawers.
She fairly swooned sometimes remembering
the curl of her name in his dull tenor.

Sweet nothings now rewhispered in her ears.
She chose black lace, black stain, reckoning
such pain a kind of romance in reverse.

The house filled with flowers. She ate nothing.
Giddy and sleepless, she longed for him alone.
Alone at last, she felt a girl again.

Kama Sutra by Amali Rodrigo

Think of the weaver bent over the loom
in a posture of appeasement, though it is not.
He hears the beyond in him, an older voice.

Without pause or trembling, his winged
hands thread the briefer weft of cerise,
silver, through warp taut on its frame.

Though he does not pause, think of the rain
he doesn’t miss, pounding on the roof,
branches of the jacaranda scratching

the windowpane like a cat impatient
to be let in. Think how they learn
to wait, as all things must,

while the foliage thickens, until a hare
finds itself startled by a star or the deer
occasionally leaping. In a quiet opening,

a hunt is taking shape. Though he doesn’t
know where each turning may lead,
he adds lilies, a money like a go-between

among the Banyan’s sky-roots, a peacock
unhooking its nerve. Think how he breathes
into them, into each knot reworked,

each new loop that shows a little more
of itself; and this archer, he sends
into the world to become an arrow.

When all the birds fly up at once
in the tapestry’s very centre,
think of the barely disturbed tree.

Domestic Confessional By Emily Wills

I am trying to write a manly poem.
You would think, in this twenty-first century
postmodern have-it-all, this would be easy. You might say
that the programming of multiple white goods
has rendered obsolete words like fairy and marigold
you might observe that we all have to eat —
but such concerns do not belong in the manly poem.
The manly poem may sit at a desk of managed forest
or cheap laminate, brew unsourced coffee, stare out perceptively
at a pedestrian crossing, a rank of bins, a potted plant
the manly poem has — presumably — a navel, with its fascinator
of blue fluff, but on these things both muse and man
must be silent. For the manly poem
is a crystal of pure thought, with no bodily needs,
apart from sex, of course — the consequences of which
may occasionally be permitted to enter
provided they wash their hands. Alas, there is no soap
or running water in the manly poem
and the children are hungry or sulky or tired —
For the manly poem, despite its umbilical scar, arrived
fully formed, punctuated with profound utterances,
a tendency to syllable count
and complex forms; also politics, apocalypses,
great themes. The manly poem
has a purpose, the manly poem must Lead The Way —
but with such rules, taboos, and no breakfast, the Inner Critic
— vestigial, but still lurking — convulses and dies,
not literally, you understand, with a lingering quotation,
but in the usual mess of grief and bodily fluids
which have to be dealt with, of course,
in another kind of poem.