DS Maolalai


she wrote all these books
about france and
french life,
all these prostitutes
and people out in rags
and people who were well dressed
and beautiful
and young
or old
and well dressed 20 years out of date.
and she could tell
all those americans a thing or two about paris.
and she could tell a character
from someone who just wanted to be one.
and you got this sense in all her books
that she was just describing people she had met
instead of bothering to make a story.
sometimes she would tell the same story twice
in a different way
or the same way
and the names would be changed
but the story would be the same
because people aren't that different really
one to one
except that sometimes they are old music hall singers
and sometimes children at the beach
but they want things
and they want sex in a way that must have been refreshing in the 20s
they want lunch and champagne
and to be seen in silhouette
looking out into the water.
she married a man 14 years older than her
and he took all the money from the first four books
and they both had affairs and she had
lesbian affairs
that he encouraged.
and when it ended it was because
among other things
it turned out she had been sleeping with his son as well.
she was famous in france and swallowed up in english
and when she died they wouldn't bury her a catholic
because of the affairs
but france still gave her their best honors
and nobody outside of there ever talks about her
or places her anywhere
except in well worn books in translation you sometimes find
cluttering the shelves of second hand bookshop

DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights drinking wine. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.