Maria Isakova Bennett

Firebird / Rosary

Maria Isakova Bennett

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I pray in Lenten Masses

for a word from God –

a few words come

at the park gates: a winding path,

a rockery of daffodils and aquilegia;

a bird, not the recurring

bird with the broken wing dream –

but a dove kissing a child,

and, as they kiss –

white fire

and a room filled with laughter.


A copper liqueur is spent across floorboards,

         scent fills the room: dip-dyed daisies –

Porthmeor blue. I depend on Byzantine stones,  

their sacred chant, each stone a prayer,

a meaning we cannot fathom yet,

and want to inch through pierced space

to know if there is life after halfway.    

One break and each stone will roll

to the corners of the room, but I know 

there is only one way to be: fastened

to beads of dreams, each a salve. I’m afraid

of empty space, of becoming the woman

who slept but never dreamt. Until dreams

come, I scroll the stones across my palm,

one at a time or several together, feel

them touch and move apart, hear rocks

muttering at tide-turn, mouthing a mantra,

always create at the edge of the sea

                         at the brink of possibility.

Maria Isakova Bennett

Maria lives and works in Liverpool, her poetry and reviews have been published widely in, amongst others, Bare Fiction, Tears in the Fence, Crannog, Envoi, Southword, Orbis, The Interpreter's House, and Manchester Review.

She has been highly commended in the Gregory O’ Donoghue Poetry Competition, shortlisted in the Munster Literature Chapbook Competition, and awarded first prize in the Ver Open Competition judged by Clare Pollard in 2014.

This year Maria has been shortlisted and placed in several Poetry Competitions. Maria collaborates with poet Michael Brown on projects in galleries on Merseyside.