Late Blooms by Lisa Kelly




Lisa Kelly’s first collection, A Map Towards Fluency, was published by Carcanet in 2019. Her poems have appeared in Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and Carcanet’s New Poetries VII. Her pamphlets are Philip Levine’s Good Ear (Stonewood Press) and Bloodhound (Hearing Eye). Her pamphlet, ‘from The IKEA Back Catalogue‘ is forthcoming from New Walk Editions in 2021.























My neighbour’s hanging basket, why

does it horrify me, yet

each time I pass, I must look


and check for signs of withering.

Is it mismatch of purple

and yellow, which reminds me


of childhood lollies – not Drumsticks

which smelt of raspberry cream –

but those cheap dual-toned blobs of


saliva-d chalk on a stick you

only bought because they would

outlast greed for liquorice,


stamen dabbed in sherbet pollen,  

or vanilla sap sucked from

inside ridged chocolate cones


or even bland stuck-together   

petals of pastel coloured

rice paper that dissolved on


the tongue – as close as I got to  

a communion wafer –            

to give an otherworldly


fizz. No, I can’t remember

their name, and for a long time

I thought my neighbour’s flowers


artificial as the lolly’s            

ingredients, the way they

managed to outlast weather,


until I noticed under the            

basket, from a pavement crack

a purple and yellow bloom.             


Lisa Kelly




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