I bet he thinks these poems are about him

I thought I’d share two poems I wrote several years ago. Both poems were published in the Queen’s Feminist Review, Vol. 3, 1995, under my maiden name. I don’t think they exist anywhere electronically.

Short Mulch

your love lies like
woodchips  sandalwood
fragrant and breathing
against my roots


The Salamander that you drew on my hipbone
has grown attached to me.
Its brief black outline has
crept silently along the taut wires
of my abdomen, snuck into my
bellybutton and attached itself to
my womb, though what it hopes to
achieve there is anyone’s guess.
Yesterday, I felt the beast’s periphery
expanding and wrapping its way up to
my ribs, where its breathing
stays in cadence with my heart beat.
Every now and again I can hear
the salamander’s tongue hissing a
soft lullaby against my sternum,
trying to tickle my bones.
There it lies,
curled up like a tiny, red and gold
panting dog but breathing fire
instead of air.
I wonder how many other salamanders
created by your fiery hand lie
beating at breastbones and
turning blood into billows
of steam and love and anger.

These poems mark the fresh beginning and the disastrous, humiliating end to a relationship I was in at the time. It’s funny to see them published in the same volume.

Maria McDonald

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