Shadows and Bird of Youth, 2 poems by Joseph Monaghan

Shadows

His light bulb dims,
and it’s dark enough
for shadows revealed.
A surprise every time.

Strangers rush from nothing
to a glittering blue pool.

Ships resemble chess pieces
from the mist of a balcony.
Dock leaves on nettle stings.
A lie in a fortune cookie.

Paperbacks and Polaroids
line the shelves of the bookcase,
collected like porcelain angels
on a Catholic’s mantelpiece.

It’s all a Kodak distraction
from being born of bone
instead of what gods are made of
—-shadows and celluloid.

His mother’s still alive.
With curlers in her hair,
she’s framed on the wall,
folding laundry and smiling
for the camera of a boy.

shadowy old camera and photos on table
Untitled by freestocks (flickr.com). CC license.

Bird of Youth

The bird gave up
on the hunt
and the fuss.
I said we should
make a bed for it.
Found weeds and stones,
feathers from its wings
on the road.

I was eighteen,
grass stains
on my knees.
Brazilian flag
on the fridge.
Folds of laundry.
Empty bottles on the edge
of the balcony.

Falling in love
can be either
the death rattle
or resuscitation
of hope. For me,
it was golden
as apricot jelly
to see myself
in someone else,
and the first weekend,
the drum and hiss
of a new city,
of possibility.

We wrapped the bird
in yellow leaves,
its mouth slightly open.
Then made our way home,
sweat of summer
stuck to our sleeves.


Joseph Monaghan
Joseph Monaghan is a recent English and Creative Writing graduate from Goldsmiths University, College of London. His poetry has previously appeared in Abstract Magazine, and centers on the themes of the fragility of relationships, ageing, and our relationship with nature.

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