Spilt Milk

Spilt Milk

Two soluble aspirins spore in this glass, their mycelia
fruiting the water, which I twist into milkiness.
The whole world seems to slide into the drain by my window.

It has rained and rained since you left, the streets black
and muscled with water. Out of pain and exhaustion you came
into my mouth, covering my tongue with your good and bitter milk.

Now I find you have cashed that cheque. I imagine you
slipping the paper under steel and glass. I sit here in a circle
of lamplight, studying women of nine hundred years past.

My hand moves into darkness as I write, The adulterous woman
lost her nose and ears; the man was fined. I drain the glass.
I still want to return to that hotel room by the station

to hear all night the goods trains coming and leaving.

'Spilt Milt' from Spilt Milk (Poetry Book Society, 2007), © Sarah Maguire 1991, used by permission of the author.


Sarah Maguire

Sarah Maguire Reading from Her Poems


2Almost the Equinox

3Cow Parsley, Bluebells

4The Grass Church at Dilston Grove

5The Fracture Clinic

6The Invisible Mender

7My Father's Piano

8The Hearing Cure


10Traveling Northward

11May Day, 1986

12Wolves Are Massing on the Steppes of Kazakhstan

13From Dublin to Ramallah


15The Pomegranates of Kandahar

16The Florist's at Midnight

17The Mist Bench 18Year-Round Chrysanthemums

19My Grafting Knife

20The Tree Bank at Ten

21Cotton Boll


23Mahbouba Zaidi’s Hands



26Cloves and Oranges

27Jasmine in Yemen 28Rosemary

29The Jardin des Plantes




33Spilt Milk