Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.
Audrey Molloy is an Irish poet based in Sydney. Her first collection, The Important Things, will be published by The Gallery Press in June 2021. She is the author of the chapbook Satyress (Southword Ed. 2020). She is pursuing a master’s degree in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The North, Magma, Mslexia, The Moth and The Irish Times. In 2019 she received the Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry and An Post Irish Book Award (APIBA) for Irish Poem of the Year. www.audreymolloy.com
after Anna Akhmatova
gingham and polka dots, not just on napkins—
in ruffles on swimsuits or piped round a plate;
hats in great boxes like candy-striped cheeses,
her favorite a trilby bought with my first pay;
Tupperware storage in delicate hues,
with curlicue labels for sago and arrowroot;
salmon for breakfast when staying at hotels
or cooked by my father, who could be hard to love;
chocolate, just a square, or a nibble of yours
or a mini-Flake stashed in an old mantel clock;
a night at the opera—especially Puccini—
and a late supper of moules and sauv blanc;
bridge tips she snipped from the Irish Times
and practicing them over nightcaps with Dad;
and the signature theme from ‘The Onedin Line’
she said would be played at her funeral mass.
The Space Between
Mother, your wig may fool your brothers,
but I know your wayward hair, like my own,
wouldn’t stay in shape like this;
I know there’s a slim, curved space between
your scalp and the fine, silk netting,
right at your crown;
I know you admire the fuller shape of your head,
though you’d never have wished for it all those years
had you known this was how you’d get it.
Some nights I dream I roam that airless field,
running my hand through sparse hair
like moonlit wheat.
Contranyms of Loss, or The Husband’s Tale
Where once we were joined leaves no scar on me.
Leaves fall from the oak not to hurt the tree
but to leave a blood-trace confetti
of having left in half-light.
Our colours were fast, no, implacable!
Steadfast as the Dog Star that sparkles
and dies as fast as man bleeds his life away,
fasting. Without light
beauty turns. The cleft lips of hares know this:
that which cleaves our minds also petrifies,
cleaving to the known. When you go to him
cleave my soul. Take half.
© Audrey Molloy