Poem – Adultery (By DS Maolalai)



I’d bang them out,

wine-drunk and excited,

and send them off

to magazines. I had

two lists;

ones which liked me

and ones I liked,

and I’d fire them


like a shotgun

scaring birds. each one

5 times

to 5

different places. then I’d wait

for any

to come back.


in general

it started with rejections;

someone would say

they didn’t like a poem

so I’d open the laptop file

and straighten its teeth again,

patch up the wounds and blacken its hair

like a dealer with a tired racehorse.

and send it again, somewhere else. it was pleasing

to do this

with my evenings – this mild commission

of poetic adultery.



one would be accepted

sometimes, but since at any time

five versions

were floating, often

it wasn’t the most recent one. then they’d print it,

happy with the words I’d replaced

and I’d smile

and hope the other versions

were bad enough

that no-one else would want them.


a note for any editors

considering this poem:

the exceptions, of course,

were the ones

I sent to you.


Author Bio: DS Maolalai

DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His first collection, "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden", was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, with "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019.