Feet, soft as dumpling rolls, are pushed to the front
of mum’s 70’s stilettos, stopping two sentences short.
My toes are spelt out like words I can already read
a at dog Jane Peter Peter Jane dog at a
The spaces behind my heels are unknown prairies, un-
chaptered tornadoes around my wheat-stalk-wobbly legs.
I begin, delighting in high heels chattering alveolar trills
across a yellow kitchen floor, stammered steps dragging
fricatives over cold tiles – calves, ankles, arches lifted
impossibly high, spare like sparrowed cheekbones.
I pretend backwards, forwards with scribbling urgency I
can only guess waitingwaitingjustwaiting to be grown up.
Pear Tree Park and Ride
I sit behind you both, in summer’s double-deckered heat,
you are bare-armed, pale Irish linen, in your sundresses,
shoulder bones sparrow joints; the space between them open
brackets; porcelain necks, smooth and fine as teacup handles.
You sit side by side, sharing haribo-sweet skin, sticking to
each other like golden teddies, fried eggs, or gluey hearts.
Sugar transformed. Legs swinging, your excitement tastes
fizzy, the heat through windows is a metallic pear drop.
Seats are fuzzy felt, the backs of muffled knees are hot-itchy,
dressed in synthetic mittens, knitting sweaty legs together.
Cathedral windscreens; traffic lights are stained glass; you catch
glimpses of your own reflections, falling through rabbit holes of
sunshine. Gears change, lurch, repeat; familiar as times tables,
tyres over splayed potholes are ridiculous clown feet, the engine
judders through jiggling spines. You practise saying your names,
sounding half-robot half-opera singer, notes frothy as milkshake
all the while you hold onto the handle, colour of a bouncy hopper,
pushing and pulling yourselves forwards, backwards, because you
are trying to row high above Oxford houses. You duck to avoid
capsizing, as tree branches boom, the sound of thunder, followed
by scrabbling of twigs like crow’s feet, frantically tap dancing on
the roof. Nearly there. You are both disappointed – not ready yet
to climb down from trees, robots, clowns, wonderlands, sweetshops.
enveloped in itself
stuck together with
small and dry,
discarded by a
hot child at the end
of a heavy summer
I think I remember
you peeling it off –
impatient and pliable and plastic
then fairy feet paddling away
leaving sticky patches
like love hearts
on the wooden floor.
What was it on that day
that made me drop this
so it could shrink
to an origami bird
nesting in deepest recesses
of the dark?
Here it has waited,
its cotton corpse tight,
I try to lay its little body
to give it
a decent burial.
The bare trees sway.
I have happily turned
out for you, but
too soon I will live
down the back of the sofa
wondering where you went.
of dark branches,
you have become
I take this
out of my side,
I drive familiar
battered cine reels
that show a
of us of us
I fall upwards
our skittering history
From Northern Ireland, Olga studied English Literature at the University of St. Andrews. A former Warwick Poet Laureate, she has been commissioned to write for Poetry on Loan and has had work published in a range of publications including Dodging The Rain, Rattle Magazine, and Poets Reading the News. Her flash fiction is soon to be published by Paper Swans. In 2017 she was shortlisted in the National First Story Competition, longlisted in The Poetry Society’s Primers publishing prize, commended in the Winchester Poetry Prize and won the Forward/Emag creative – critical competition.
For more of Olga’s poetry on Dodging The Rain, click here.