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For a spell

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.

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