"5pm" by DS Maolalai

I looked at my fingers. it was almost time

for her to get her train

and I looked at my fingers and said "I should cut

my nails shorter" and she said

"yes, I was thinking that.

it was kind of uncomfortable

there when you were fingering me." I looked at her

and she looked at me

like a bruised apple, all pink cheeks and eyes,

and I said "so why didn't you tell me then?" and she said

"then you would have stopped

and I didn't want you

to stop." she got up

out of my shoulder

and stretched, the light through the curtain

staining her burnt umber, her breast flattening

as it followed the movement of her arm,

then flopping backwards

like an apple

hanging on a string. the bed moved a little

and my body slipped sideways

into the warmth which her body

had left. "you're always so anxious

about these things," she said. "I'm not," I said. "you are"

and it was true - I wouldn't want to hurt her. would have stopped.

but there were other things

I could have put there, I thought, and pressed myself

up from the mattress

to find some socks

before we walked to the train. it was 5pm. always

so strange, getting dressed a second time

the same day. like resetting a computer

by holding down the off button. something violent

about having been asleep,

wrapped up together, and then waking up

to half-worn clothes

and doing things

with only a few hours

til bedtime.

"To Natalie" by DS Maolalai

grabbing my arms

and twisting; the past

like a good fighter,

better by far

than me. this morning

my girlfriend now

showed me a video - some guy

fighting airport security

after they tasered

his wife - and asked if I'd do that

were it to happen

to her. I said

I'd gladly try

but lose

worse than he did. I can't fight

anything, even

on equal

ground. and memory

sneaks up

like a mugger

and grabs me anyway. sometimes

I can't help

but google

your name.

"Canada Geese" by DS Maolalai


they landed

all around the hospital

like bags of inflated air

but heavier; dropping


and padded rocks. the hospital

was a new building - the most advanced, apparently,

in the hemisphere - but in construction

they had not taken account

the whips and roaming


of migrating canada

geese. we were told

to monitor them as they landed

and to call management

if any built nests

on the rooftop; they had to be dealt with then

by special men

with nets and heated


for the eggs.

and we had guards too,

at the entrance - it seemed

the birds got violent

with old ladies especially

coming in to get their results. once

one of the maintenance guys

didn't want to wait

and cracked the eggs

with something from his toolbelt. he was on camera

and ended up

being fired

and fined. and we had a compilation

of cctv attacks

on patients. security

sent us any new videos

they picked up - already by june

it was 20 minutes