for a spell almos-bechtold-aovuLamBmgs-u

for a spell

Poet: Laura Theis

the solitude is

an unexpected present


it’s a hot day

the river bank’s earth cakes and ridges


I bake along with it then swim

in the dirty dirty river


I share the water with things that float

bird feathers bottles blossoms


condoms and copulating



I share the river with things which pollute

engines and boat motor oil


the bridge ahead blasts strange graffiti

Banu it says is god


Banu’s my mum’s name

I think she’d agree


I turn away and swim back towards

the towel I pilfered


from the peeved dog and a waiting

tupperware of yellow cherries


maybe this is what you meant

when you wrote that


it’s moments like these we 

decide to take one more breath 


the water phasing into

a thin layer of warmth over the cold undercurrent


I am afraid of happiness

but floating here


in this stream of water and diluted sewage

I let it in


Laura Theis is the author of the acclaimed poetry collection 'how to extricate yourself' (Dempsey&Windle). Her work has been widely anthologised, appears in a variety of literary journals from Strange Horizons to Mslexia, and was published in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Canada and the U.S. An AM Heath Prize recipient, she has also won the Brian Dempsey Memorial Pamphlet Prize, the Hammond House International Literary Award for Poetry, the 2020 Mogford Short Story Prize and she was a finalist in over twenty other international literary competitions.