Winner of the Dalkey Creates Poetry Competition
Love was almond shaped
by Denise O’Hagan
Love was almond shaped On sultry summer afternoons When we sat outside in slatted light With geraniums and the last of the washing High above the eternal traffic noise And other muted noise of the Eternal City As she taught me how to crack them open Holding both my hands in one of hers Steadying my palm, spanning my fingers Across the stern metal jowls of the nutcracker, I’d squeeze and squeeze until each pitted casing Strained and split at last, a rough unveiling And I, the beneficiary of sleek, sweet-tasting pods Caught a blur of hair as she bent to scoop up splinters, Her wedding band twinkling gold, My whole world ringed by that balcony.
Denise O’Hagan was born in Rome and based in Sydney. She has a background in commercial book publishing, and worked as an editor for Collins, Heinemann, Routledge and Cambridge University Press, and was consulting editor for the State Library of NSW. In 2015 she set up her own imprint, Black Quill Press, through which she assists authors wishing to publish independently. She is also Poetry Editor for Australia/New Zealand for Irish literary journal The Blue Nib. Her poetry is widely published and awarded. The Beating Heart is her debut poetry collection (Ginninderra Press 2020).