Two poems by Theresa Muñoz

munoz3

 
 

    Water of Leith

 

By the water of Leith you sit & think of the day.
Scrolling down, seeing bad news, you kept a straight face.
Told yourself: don’t do it, don’t give yourself away.
Your streamlined self exists. Always filtering your words.
Black on black is your staple wear, body conscious.
By the water of Leith you sit by trees: how they bare themselves.
Quiet is a kind of yearning. Those times you loved mutely
as a lover’s coat sunk below the hill. If wool was skin
was touch or ache: don’t do it, don’t give yourself away.
Holding back is an axiom you live by. The other person
speaks first, spiral in their eye a drop on glass.
By the water of Leith you pick at grass: how easily it tears.
When you look back, there was always a holding back:
no direct maybes, a pull at the mouth’s edge like a zip,
gestures that gave nothing away.
It’s the way the wind snaps the trees, the way grass bends
to the shore: everything breaks the same.
By the water of Leith you look over the silver edge
folding that thought, over and over, until it folds away.

 


 

    Ordinary Life

 

Ordinary life teaches us that everything returns.
Cutlery to velvet beds, sweaters to cedar chests.
And if we raged against what we can’t change
there’d be no denouement, no laying earth
over wood, soil against grain.
Ordinary life teaches us. Everything returns
with a tyrannical sweep: clocks
to the twelfth place, empty fishing boats home.
If we rage. When we rage. Things unchanged
dwell in our bodies, zip through our veins
when you bat the full glass off the edge.
Teach us life is ordinary. Everything returns
half-loved, starved, seeking a den,
salmon to spawning rocks, us to the church gate.
So we rage. Against what is too late:
days that never happened, embraces misspent.
Ordinary life teaches us we must return
to the same front door, same view of bins.
Even the light says, You were so wrong about this.

 

Theresa Munoz

About Theresa Munoz

Theresa Muñoz is Research Associate at the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts. Her debut collection, 'Settle' (Vagabond Voices, 2016), was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize. In 2018 she received a Muriel Spark Centenary Award for her poetry.