The condemned cell

the spade
cuts grass
with the force
of a blunt knife
in an overdone
steak. the dog
is with me in the garden. sickly
and slow,
he limps the lawn
and sniffs
fresh earth
as it turns out,
as a pressed shirt
in wet weather.
light rain
makes it easier to dig
once the first turfs
go over. sorrow
doesn’t let up
but the work
is less difficult.
good exercise
and a workout
for the chest.
I wonder
about plantings
in the future
and bones
brought up by broccoli.
he comes back with me
when I’m done
and I step inside
for shelter
and to change my shirt.
I pet his head, his square skull
heavy on the neck
like fruit in autumn. now
I go to work. my dad
jingles the leash
to please him
and leaves out steak
and a plate of dog treats. when I come back
I know
he won’t
be there.

DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by Encircle Publications, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.

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