I’m reminded of those gold D.M.s
I used to own to stomp the way
through my impromptu, pot-holed teens.
Bought gilded at thirteen, the jerky
movements of unsettled feet;
my shuffling caused great scuffing
that needed now concealed.
My Granda was good with cars;
actually, more the cover-up
of things – like accidents. He knew
paint, he knew how to hide faults.
So, he made it his mission to track
me down gold spray that matched
those gilded boots exactly to a tee.
Eventually. Three weeks from setting out,
he called to say he’d found the gold;
my defects were to disappear.
We masked them off, made edges clean;
then sprayed the hissing liquid gilt
like Satan’s song; his wealth
displayed in running glittered tears
on the surface of my D.M. boots.
Still now, I wish I wore my sins
on my feet; hidden from my heart;
kept close to ground; panning for gold.
A Language I Understand
On the Lord’s day we ate ice cream
after we went in peace.
The Sabbath was vanilla pod and tendrils
of gold sun, spun like sugar
from the glasses stained in temples
of our God’s almighty cliché.
The pews were hard, the cone was soft.
Maybe built with brimstone;
maybe left in air too long. It’s hard to know
in a world of inside outs.
With holy spirit raised on tongues in a language
only he will understand;
the rest of us are vessels open to the respite
of a day that will be tinged
with guilt because we cannot rest. Maybe only God
can rest in peace,
for making milkyways and worlds and those who feel
both love and guilt,
deserves a break. Quite often now I go to pieces
on the Sabbath day.
The dam of septacon about to burst; to spill my fears
into a new born week.
Take me back to worship my vanilla God, pushed inside
the hollow of a cone;
raised in a language I understand, spoken with a cold and
Here, the scene from some botanical lab.
You as botanist; your kitchen window
sparks our Holocene age; makes glaciers
retreat from warmth of new sun spilt on sill.
Your busy hands propagate, prune, liberate.
Digits mossed and soiled; you birth spider
plants in Black Bush tumblers; strange test tube flowers
who’s’ name you now forget, were smuggled home
from Portugal in ninety-three. This petri
dish prepared for last year’s Amaryllis,
is moist and ready to infuse with life.
Everything in jam jars grows. Bursts forth.
Those once clipped, now more whole since the cut.
Oh, how I want to tread the water too.
To feel my legs, like shoots, spread out and stretch
my history taciturn into a
fluid womb. Then ink-bled veins touch glass
and it is time to plant. You carry me
with those you grew, on tissue. Attach us
all as brand new beings to the earth.
Storm and Ash
Since that storm in the night two years now gone the old
wooden shed has been forsaken, a sharp ragged ark appeared
in its grain like the gaping mouth of a victim. It spoke
nothing, told nothing, dissembled itself; trembled in the wind.
Each gale after that felt like an ambush, like poor Job it could
have cried, ‘Let the day perish wherein I was born!’
Yet it was not born. It was made by man and day by day
we have been stripping it for its wood to warm our feet
and the dog and the cat at the roaring open fire. We are made
whole by the heat, bolstered by the crackling of the once proud shed,
as it puts itself to purpose once again. I feel like I have brought
it home in bits to dazzle us. It lives much more inside the blaze
and flame than existing in hopeless shards; abused
by storm, masticated by the dog to be spat out in splinters
in the yard. Oh, there is something beautiful about turning
into ash. To be made whole in the fire: evidence of a blistering life.
Sands of Time
In Comber I first saw the sands of Greece,
of Mexico, Bermuda and Iran.
In nine short miles I travelled half the world;
and saw the gradients of every beach
from black to gold. In glass I held those
particles who’d kissed the sea goodnight
beneath the moon’s dark pull. Twenty tiny
bottles filled with sand; corked in miniature
to keep the sea-smell fresh. I longed to pull
their corks; inhale the sea into my lungs;
into my very core. Infuse their waters
with my blood; grow scales upon my skin;
swim off in the azure. These were the sands
of time; of days spent travelling the globe
to capture gold dust at the sea in jars.
Each one an hour glass never to be turned.
For time is nothing but a label placed
on life, which cannot be contained in glass.
Oh, how I long to step upon those shores
and pour each bottle back into the earth.
Return each grain unto its rightful home.
Return each grain unto its place of birth.
Amy Louise Wyatt is a lecturer, poet and artist from Bangor, County Down. She has had work published in a range of established journals and magazines, including The Blue Nib, FourxFour and Lagan Online. Amy edits The Bangor Literary Journal and has read at festivals throughout Ireland. She was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing.
To read Amy’s ‘Lemons’, click here.