Monkeys are pounding the roof,
the guardian lizard looks like a dragon,
it’s so hot I jump into the pool
with my clothes on. No one says anything,
they just stare, the way people might stare
at a bird that can’t fly.
Earlier someone took a photo: we’re an island,
like the world’s smallest volcano,
everyone someone’s ex-husband or new wife.
All the bride’s fathers walk her up the aisle,
her mother and stepmothers crying or laughing,
and the priest stops the marriage
to deliver a sermon on the evils of divorce.
And I truly don’t care you’re not here,
or that I left you in hospital,
or that the men I break with
end up having heart attacks. You didn’t
want to come anyway. Even in Venice,
we walked alone round San Michele,
where families ate picnics between graves
and children leapfrogged headstones. I lingered
by the ballet shoes at Diaghilev while you went
in search of Brodsky repeating his line:
what’s important is what comes after, and I cried
after you, It’s easy to love the dead.
I have stopped keeping old love letters.
A holy man once asked if I’d ever known kindness.
I told him my pillow is the sea. I have a handkerchief
tree that flowers white tissues. I’m collecting
paperclips to lace around the moon.
‘Maybe one day I will love you’ by Mary Mulholland won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (October 2021) judged by Rachel Long.
Mary Mulholland’s poems are published in MIROnline, Marble, Orbis, Under the Rader, AMBIT, Finished Creatures, Perverse, Fenland Poetry Journal, London Grip, Arc and elsewhere. Among other mentions she was highly commended in AMBIT’s 2021 Competition, shortlisted in Live Canon’s Single Poem Competition 2021 and Pamphlet Prize, 2020 and 2021, shortlisted for Winchester 2020, six times for Bridport, and twice been a winner in Poetry Society Members’ Competitions. In 2022 she has a collaborative pamphlet (with Vasiliki Albedo and Simon Maddrell) coming out with Nine Pens. Former journalist and psychotherapist, she co-edits The Alchemy Spoon and founded Red Door Poets.