Edward O’Dwyer, How We Deal with Trespassers in Texas

Edward O’Dwyer, from Limerick, has poetry published in journals throughout the world, such as The Forward Book of Poetry 2015, Poetry Ireland Review, The Manchester Review, and A Hudson View Poetry Digest. His debut collection, The Rain on Cruise’s Street (2014), is published by Salmon Poetry, the follow-up to which is due in April 2017. His work has been nominated for Pushcart, Forward and Best of the Web Prizes.

How We Deal with Trespassers in Texas

There is a sign next to the high gates, which
are a line of connected black spears;
the ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted’ type sign.
The dog is satisfied to be sniffing something
and is in no hurry onwards from the pillar.
I think of you.
I don’t want to, yet there you are, again.
And I’m doing it again, using
the object pronoun I’m not supposed to use.
I think of her. Her.
I wish I had one of those signs in my head
so that whenever she thought about
entering it, she would be deterred,
find someone else’s head to be inside.
But then, not satisfied, it seems,
I think of places where it’s acceptable to own guns
and to shoot intruders, where you might see
the ‘Trespassers Will Be Shot’ signs
that you see in films. I think of Texas then.
Surely that would be okay to do in Texas.
Then I think, wouldn’t it be nice
if my head was like Texas, and inside it
I could put up such a sign
and leave a vigilant thought posted there,
gun-ready, waiting for her to come on in.
At last the dog is done sniffing.
He’s whining now, letting me know,
a wounded whinge of a sound,
and so we walk onwards.
There she is in my head again, again.
Now she’s making the same sound though,
that wounded whinge. She’s bleeding
profusely, I notice. She’s dying,
and I think: this is how we deal
with trespassers in Texas.

What the Flowers Say

Wilting already, she observes.
They have a day at most left in them.

They don’t say much, the flowers
he bought her – €1.99 from ALDI.

She has listened to the silences of the afternoons
for what she wished they would say.

You can spend a long time waiting
and then the waiting becomes life, she thinks.

They say they were €1.99 and are from ALDI
because he didn’t remove the sticker,

but nothing else as yet, the flowers
wilting in the vase on the mantelpiece.

Maybe flowers don’t say anything,
or they say exactly what they should, she thinks.

These say they are from ALDI, worth €1.99.
These are for you, he said.

Rough Kissing

She likes rough kissing
and I mean really rough,
none of the soft, sensuous stuff
they give movie awards for.

If she tastes blood,
that’s a good one,
not too far at all.

No stroke of her hair, pull it;
no caress of cheek, slap it.
Romance is no fluttering leaf
on an autumn breeze
but a brick hurled at a window.

No whispered sweet nothings
but carnal screams.
Rough and then rougher,
and rougher again.

Especially in the kissing.
Don’t ever be afraid
to leave a mark.
A bruise, a gash, a wound.

Something that might last.

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