Poetry: “The longest day” by DS Maolalaí

The longest day

o unreachable evening –
it’s summer now;
quite hot, not quite
the longest day,
though that’s approaching.

and these are the times
you don’t want to be indoors,
on a wooden chair
inside a bedsit,
scratching yourself
and writing poems.
if I could
I would
be down now
next to the river,
drinking beer with friends
and just talking,
just talking.

last time we were there, jack
was considering going home a while.
aidan looked at the water
and told us he might try to swim.
we talked him out of it –
warnings; broken bottles and colostomy-bags
surfing like unseen sharks.

above us
waggled like jazz solos,
in hazy circles.
they can smell the carbon dioxide
or something in your breath –
that’s how they track you.
I woke up that morning
covered in red marks;
or an allergic reaction; I don’t know.
now they are mostly gone.

summer steals us
and leaves us
and stretched out.
the next time I stretch out
it will be next to you
and I’ll be sure then
from where the red marks
have come.

DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)