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Between Vancouver and Calgary
DS Maolalai (Atlantic Technical University, Ireland)



this was a small town.
west canada somewhere.
stopped for the night;
a hotel overlooking
some plain. one of those
horsetowns you come to
in canada, if you drive
far in any direction.

a bar lighting darkness
and distance. a shadow
below and behind
and all other lights off.
my brother and I
in a room with a south-
facing window –

we had picked up a 6 pack
and sat looking out,
kind of talking but not
really talking. the stars
were impressionist,
tucked behind
smoke – we were told
the next morning that
nearby the woods were on fire.

there were no constellations,
just men wearing boots. stacks of burned-
looking stubble from a harvest
of some sort of grain.
somewhere that truckers
took lunch on occasion,
on their way to vancouver
from calgary. and I’d lived for
two years in toronto
by then; was leaving in a couple
of weeks. he’d come; we were travelling
on the last of my visa,
the last of my canadian dollars.

I like it in towns like that, full of rough wooden
buildings, where everything smells of the road.



DS Maolalai has been described by one editor as “a cosmopolitan poet” and another as “prolific, bordering on incontinent”. His work has nominated eleven times for Best of the Net, eight for the Pushcart Prize and once for the Forward Prize, and has been released in three collections; “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016), “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022).

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