Two poems by Maria Taylor

In Love

First, dream yourself into a mid-terrace
let flowers grow inside your head.

Rethink the kitchen, see a dining table
tangled with jasmine, petals over tired pine.

Where once you were arm-deep in sink grease
watch holy roses grow from a plughole

as swallowtails escape from a cutlery drawer
and fly up to a room, not quite your own.

Here are laelia, risen from an unwashed duvet
a mirror all dew, names written in breath.
(from Melanchrini and also published in Maps and Legends: Poems to Find Your Way By ed Jo Bell and Jane Commane, both Nine Arches Press).

A friend of mine asks me if I’d sleep with Daniel Craig,
would I make love to him or kick him out of bed?
Before I have time to answer, I’m in bed with Daniel Craig.
He’s stirring out of sleep, smelling of Tobacco Vanille,
he flatters my performance, asks if I’d like coffee.
‘Hang on,’ I say, ‘I did not sleep with you, Daniel Craig,
this is just a conversational frolic.’ My friend stands
in the corner of my bedroom. ‘You’ve gone too far,’ she says.
I’m pulling the duvet away from his Hollywood body
at exactly the moment my husband enters the room
I say, ‘Yes, this is exactly what it looks like, darling,
but it’s hypothetical, a mere conversational frolic.’
He’s threatening me. There are lawyers in the room.
My children begin to cry. I don’t even like Daniel Craig.

It’s too late. The sheets are full of secreted evidence.
There are forensics in the room, covering my body
in blue powder, checking my skin for finger prints:
they match Daniel Craig’s. He doesn’t even know
he’s slept with me. My marriage is a dead gull.
My neighbours come into the room shaking heads,
oh dear oh dear oh dear. My husband has drawn lists
of all the things he wants to keep: a plasma screen,
an X Box, a collection of muesli coloured pebbles
from our holidays in Truro, ‘When you loved me!’
he snaps. My children will see a therapist after school.

Daniel Craig is naked in a hypothetical sense,
telling me we can make this work. My friend smirks
behind a celebrity magazine featuring lurid details
of our affair. There are photos. We are on a beach
in the Dominican Republic, healthy and tanned
both kicking sand at a playful Joan Collins.

‘I don’t even like Daniel Craig,’ I tell the ceiling.
(published in The Poetry of Sex ed. Sophie Hannah (Penguin Books).
Maria Taylor has appeared in various magazines, including The Rialto, Acumen and The North and her first collection Melanchrini was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize in 2013.