Three poems from Molly Naylor’s new collection Stop Trying to be Fantastic, published by Burning Eye Books in June 2020.
I threw a party and thought it was
because I was generous
but looking back, I think I just
liked knowing where everyone was.
My brothers refuse to love me
in the soft, clear way I expect.
Birds don’t land where I want them.
I’m working on all of this.
Next year could be the year
where I plan less, drink less
let my brothers
love me imperfectly
appreciate the bar-fights
they start for me, instead of
remembering my birthday.
Relinquish. Let the birds be.
I say all this as
I lead your eyes here
a test to check
you’ve not gone.
Grab your arm.
One more line.
Midnight. And we’re done.
Back to school
I wish you clean sheets and fresh thoughts.
A little more boldness, a little less meekness.
A few new ways to clear the clouds
from your mind in this, the spring of your life.
I wish you the chance to make things
that fall apart. Time to breathe in the dying
of the leaves. You are the spring in the autumn
and the songs you love now will love you forever.
I wish you power over your ancient
reflexive responses and the sense to hold
drunken kisses lightly. Shrug. Breathe.
Do the next thing then the next
and remember, no one has ever regretted
choosing to go for a swim.
The autumn I turn off the rolling news
I notice the city is littered with mushrooms
a drop in temperature combined with high rainfall
fruiting bodies of fungus, decorating verges
and playing fields. I learn their names and
about their nightmarish underground webs
and I’m guiltily happy, with energy to give
to my friends who still protest. I buy them donuts.
I call my mother more. I met someone.
I see more mushrooms than ever before.