‘Poem for Oscar with Stars in it’ by Kevin Graham

Poem for Oscar with Stars in it

Hoisted in the high chair of my arm – all bum and elbows
and chocolate ice-cream hands – you point a finger up at the fluid
night sky and say star. We’re on the porch of your uncle’s house,
on one of the year’s fledgling days, a couple of briquettes buzzing
nicely in an old barbeque. Leaning forward, you wet your fist
and try to blow them out from ten feet away, as though they were
birthday candles. The fizzing pylon looming overhead won’t stop
falling in my mind into the tender hub of our after-dinner party.
Sparks fly and catch in the fleeting nightmare, then recede.

Out here, in this Finnish-timber retreat, this otherworldly
stillness, we could be anywhere: Donabate, Tromsø, Chiang Mai.
The sea whispers beyond the bushes, dragging its enormous haul
back and forth between our listening ears. The flowing wine
has purpled my teeth and I must appear to you as a zombie,
you who toss your hair back suddenly and spot Jupiter kindling
in its hard-silvered light, make a purring sound and turn
to face me with all the wonder the world hopes you never lose,
and say again – in a voice that leaves before you know it – star.
 
(first published in The Stinging Fly, Summer 2014)
 
 
 
 
Kevin Graham is from Dublin, Ireland. His poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies. He was selected for the 2012 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and was shortlisted for a 2014 Hennessey Literary Award. He was featured poet in the summer 2014 issue of The Stinging Fly and is currently working towards his first collection. A chapbook Traces has been published by Smithereens Press and is available to download. Twitter @kevcgraham

Two poems by Amy McCauley

 
Avocado

It’s the most confidential fruit,
though it may not be a fruit at all.
This is the source of its delicious androgyny.

It will part with itself in ways we can’t.
The exterior self and interior self are compatible.
It behaves privately and makes a rich oil.

When the time comes it loosens,
a ripe piece of soap, clean and medicinal.
Its final word is the perfect stone.

(first published in The North (Issue 48: December 2011)
 
 
No, Mon Amour

My breast
(the right one)
shrinks inside its pouch.
It is pale,
toadhearted.
The lesser breast
suffers the most.
Poor relative
of the breast with the franchise,
specially commissioned theme tune
and gift shop.
How often people presume
that the agony of the breasts
is double!
No, mon amour.
While the left
is crushed and petted,
the orphan right
silently hungers.
The animal slopes
back to its room.
If only the scenario
weren’t so
laughable.
If only the left
didn’t swell
with each hard twist
of the nipple.

(first published in The Stinging Fly (October 2013)
 
 
Amy McCauley’s poetry has been widely published and in 2008 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Her current project involves reworking Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus as a collection of interlocking poems. She is studying for a PhD at Aberystwyth University, where she also teaches.