it’s the hottest day again

on historical record.

3rd one this year

since july. in gardens

dogs die under fringes

of flowerbed. fishes sweat

in their tanks while fat men

sweat on balconies. drink cold

cans of beer and blow

smoke to the eye of the sun.

down on the river, on the new

james joyce bridge for pedestrians,

a group of fourteen-

and fifteen-year-olds strip

to some skins – down to their boxers

or jean shorts and bras; they fling

themselves into the river.

their whoops carry far;

ripples in soupish thick

atmosphere. they linger while ripples

spread over the riverblack skin.

trucks pass above them

vans pass, and all traffic –

they paddle beneath in half circles.

they kick back and forth,

and then over toward

ropes thrown – breaststroke

and backstroke and paddle.

DS Maolalai's poetry has been nominated twelve times for BOTN, ten for the Pushcart and once for the Forward Prize, and has been released in three collections; "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016), "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022)