Kevin Graham

Four Poems by Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham

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A Letting Go

Above our heads before we could tell, a spray
of geese croaking and wheezing like an old melodeon,
rusty as hell. We were talking about money –
our lack of it – when they breezed out of a line
of trees and raised our faces skyward.
I wanted to know where they’d come from,
where they would go, but never being much
of an ornithologist was content to watch
their fluid necks merge and stay in line,
dull wings beating on thin air,
arranging them in a single, pointed sweep.
We stood and watched them leave like the hand
of a clock across the face of the sky
feeling safe, as the sun was going down.

How could you not have known the tulips’
season ends in May? Or that a pound
of silence is fraught with light? So many things
running their natural course, coming back round -

cyclical. Like looking up at the phone lines
exploring our neighbour’s house-front, the nest
of wires a haven for a bird’s nest, the chimes
of her young crying out for the rest

of whatever she has scavenged. Or a friend’s look
coming back to haunt you, still living,
rising in the stands as the rugby ball sails over.

An out-of-nowhere breeze leaves you shook.
Under your arm, summer flowers aching
to be eased into a bowl of shining water.

Shooting the Moon

Locked out of our heads, the slipway pulling
away, dropping into the wine-dark sea.
The water makes its mark in the sounds
that take us back to childhood. Everywhere,
stages of the moon: a brilliant lifeboat,
an understated heron, glittering trees. We grow weak
and fall to our knees, undressing awkwardly.
The world is a cradle, a merry-go-round
of dead opportunity. We drip with anticipation
and fall in backwards, crashing into the known
unknown. Salt happens everywhere,
a tired whine haemorrhaging into silence.
This is where the story ends – two naked boys
floating beneath a stunning, majestic sky.

Do You Remember?

Out the door of the rented house counties away
from where we lived, addressing the silent country air
as the evening poured its light and we made our way
past honeysuckle, rhododendron, snowdrop, rose,
a blue breath calling us softly the way the moon
attracts the tide, the swell two feet below us,
grey and sloppy, splashing lobster pots stacked
haphazardly along the pier, the slipway beckoning
like an injured bird or dying friend, the earth
melting away as we walked into the night,
hands clasped as if in prayer or hope that miracles
might see us through the pang, the beauty
of the disappearing world where we are only drops
under an ocean of helpless stars.

Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham's recent poems have appeared AgendaPoetry Ireland Review, Oxford Poetry, The Stinging Fly and othersHe was shortlisted for a 2014 Henessey Literary Award and is working towards his first collection.