We Dined At The Restaurant

you worked at to fund your grant
I combed your hair towards my ribs
the opposite way to where you were going

You spoke of Akil—he who uses reason
a new star        pinned to your lapel

the red diyas do little to mask
the blaze I’ve seen before

When you stepped off the runway
you could have been anybody

Some hours later it’s the first time words
sound like hiccups.

He tells me the down draught wrenched
your weekend rucksack          from his arms

& I picture that ochre imperfect
corona             meant for him              on a china cup

© Natalia Spencer 23.03.2016
Cover Image Rights Sean Gallup/Getty



Not One I Want To Write But Know I Should

Tomorrow the day when florists deliver bouquets
yours absent of lilies your mother’s flower
She the determined woman      who parcelled
a three pound child in brown paper      & was gone
before end of your first year

Your father never bought a headstone     & I often
wonder why stiff blooms have power to poison
family after pollen falls           They blamed you
rather than focus on real cause or accept
just how much you were wanted

Years on I meet a woman with those same dark eyes
fierce & wild as you are. The photograph of her
in her new mother’s arms mirrors that sepia shot
Ann out on the back step        sleeves rolled up like a mother
who salvages a birdcage from a charred room

& I cannot       bring myself to order flowers
which eventually droop & lick            silent walls
Because in your last age of breath & spit
all the gentle words I must say           should be seen
not gushed      as panaceas      across a writer’s desk

©Natalia Spencer 2016

Cover image ©Marie Elkins 2012



Expansive Odour of Desire

skin porous & florid    ooze
the not quite
citrus or physical

as if she is
made of snowflakes    different

minute by minute
slowly melting into soft vapour

dark & wide enough
for a man to drown in liquid tension

Her pupils suggest I should fill her
with     Verpa  lingam            lap rocket

the subtle prefer to call

played by fingers & thumb
& she is

so sweet
soles flat to my nape; worth

every second of delayed fall
into her

like salmon
compelled to spawn    & after

milk white pearls
claim air
as essence        on rippled sheets

© Talia Hardy 2016


You reach in to lace edged surf,
snatch his crescent moon from her crib.
The water is too warm. Is there a pulse?
As if to offer milk you hold him close.
Shrieks attract more of your species who snap sacred flesh
reflecting a million gold and silver scales.
Such curious smiles you bait ball his body.
When the last air left froth corrupted lungs
No one heard his mother’s cries. Still you hug
that strong urge to capture an all-important picture.
Yes that one—long beak to human nose.
The one you delete after he is dumped
like a plastic toy in the footprint
you leave behind for Argentine waves to collect.


© Natalia Spencer. 2016

Love Letter to Woman in Apartment 3

Tired of chalk faces & clay women who disowned self
decades ago, I grasp time as you tease
dormant geraniums back to life.
Each year your garden takes on more colour—mostly reds
while you grow more silver                 than woodland mist.
So often I see the girl melted into glass.
She’s there when she flamencos in her tulip skirt, slim calves
synchronised to earth rhythms.
I saw her the day she stepped out on rhinestone heels
to collect her degree.               Strange flower
forgive the habitual hellos & goodbyes.
I’m a simple man                     made mutant.
Landslip & drugs have that effect— and we,
we often hang ourselves over brooks, rebirth
from misshapen clouds.          Strange flower
if your belly sags you are not a balloon
drifted  along my skyline to be popped
in preference for longer legs.
You are helium, my Dead Sea parted
a Sitar I’ll never          pluck again.


©Natalia Spencer 2016