Monday, 12 June 2017

2 poems by Maggie Mackay

The Sand Settles and Unsettles my Pulse

The desert sand nestles in the cracks between my toes,
rests in the grooves of my nails. It blasts
the intricate geometry of the Persian rug you gifted me,
smudges, tramples me through the pores
of skirting boards which sandbag ground in the face of flood.
My dream castle lists beneath my feet.

Sand sifts into my books, blue, red, flecked with gold fire.
As their spines line up like sentries, I am a dustcover
wrapped by dunes pressing my shoulders to my toes.
Dream castles float in the damp tide-lap.
This intruder waits, deep store-darkened in the camphor chest,
column-stacked against my bedroom wall,
graining the white picture frame.

Imp-sand flows under the door like a river in spate,
splashes mesmerising patterns of an underground spring
fathoms deep in the earth’s crust that merge on window and sill,
washing your persistent voice from the stale air,
out of waves which wiped dream castles to nothing.
My heart is a sandpit.

First published on 31/10/16

How to Distil a Guid Scotch Malt

Separate the Gross from the Subtle
Hieronymus Brunschwig

Wrap yourself in Mum’s dressing gown, its envelope-hug,
pour a dram of uisage beatha, sip peppery Talisker peat.

Hear the barley grain grind in the mill, conjure a mash in the steel tun,
a flow into the wash, stroked by hushes and baloo baleerie.

Gloamings on salty coastlines, sweet kiln smoke, skin oil grams,
cloud the floor of the tumbler, climb the sides, pull you into the cask.

Acids blend with ethanol, transform into esters, fruity and aromatic.
A Hebridean sunset copper-pots your tongue, biscuit-beaches rise in your throat.

There’s a nip in the air, a lifetime of goodnights fermenting in a kipper fire.
Her arm entwines in yours. She comes home, full flavoured.

Task begun, the heart of the run is now, my middle years of fear and longing.

Maggie Mackay, a retired additional support needs teacher and lover of jazz and whisky, lives on the east coast of Scotland and is enjoying life as a final year Masters Creative Writing student at Manchester Metropolitan University where she is currently working on her poetry portfolio.

She has work in various print and online publications, including Bare Fiction, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Indigo Dreams Publishing and in several Three Drops Press anthologies.

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