Audrey Molloy – The Figure-Eight Pools

Molloy LE P&W September 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing September 2023

The Figure-Eight Pools, poems by Audrey Molloy.

The Figure-Eight Pools

Burning Palms Beach, New South Wales

Like the light-green eyes of a man who uttered stay,
these sinkholes, jade aquaria,

carved by salt and wave to a sandstone shelf
that formed around the time

things picked up again
after one extinction or another. On the brink

of a millennium, if another woman strode
where I now stride, she might have had eternity in mind,

she must have stood on sediment,
each grain a lithic fragment of an older rock,

volcanic, from a wilder age, cemented into layers,
or ground to fertile clays that host

the hanging vines and creaking fronds
of giant Cabbage palms that fringe the beach.

Today two boys, bare to the waist, leap the pools,
which, by fluke, have formed a figure-eight—

a small infinity—the hollow sockets of a fossil skull
staring at the shifting sky. A seal

basks in the yellow light of a middle-aged star
and the white webs of the sea rise,

looping over the lip of a continent,
as they’ve done before, as they will again.

Smoke, Mirrors, Narcissist

We’d all ended up in a Leeson Street club called Leggs,
and we were smoking—me, and a blonde in a majorette
blazer. We were laughing hard at each other’s jokes,
though we could barely hear ourselves think. Is that
Bono over there? I shouted, and she looked, and I looked.
I asked if I could light my cigarette from the tip of hers.
We brought our hands close. She wore a cameo pinky
ring just like my own. I leaned in and she leaned in, and
I thought she was going to kiss me. My breath made a
circle of fog on the mirror. I drew a little heart in it.

© Audrey Molloy

Audrey Molloy is an Irish poet living in Sydney on Gadigal land. Her debut collection, The Important Things (Gallery Press, 2021), won the Anne Elder Award and was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize. Ordinary Time (Pitt Street Poetry, 2022), a collaboration with Australian poet Anthony Lawrence, was one of Australian Book Review’s ‘Books of the Year’. Her second solo collection, The Blue Cocktail, will be published in late 2023 in Ireland and Australia. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has appeared in Meanjin, Cordite, Island, Best of Australian Poems, The Stinging Fly, The Moth, Magma, The North, and Poetry Ireland Review. She was awarded a Varuna Residential Fellowship in 2020, and was shortlisted for the Red Room Poetry Fellowship in 2022. She is the grateful recipient of a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland.

One Reply to “Audrey Molloy – The Figure-Eight Pools”

  1. The amazing thing about poetry is that there are so many published poems to choose from, hundreds of thousands and more for as far as one can count. They are all unique in a way but very few stop you in your tracks. Of course a mention of Bono in Leggs on Leeson Street will do just that but he did not steal the show!! Instead he made me revisit the headline act! ‘The Figure-Eight Pools’ is vast and beautiful – so much happens over endless time in each but one of the two line stanzas that the counterpoint of two boys out for a swim today works wonders!

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