Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 3: St Andrews!

After the Reading

She breathes in the hairspray topnotes
of a highland single malt, which needs a glass
not a tooth mug. Her lips sting,
they have opened and closed all day.
Here’s to a taste of being happy
after the gentle pain of closure – the pang
of goodbye to the St Andrews’ teacher
who’d holidayed in her home town,
to the Welsh poet she hopes to meet again,
goodbye to the rather famous,
and to the Iraqi poet with wheat-beer breath
who kissed her on both cheeks.

The sting repeats with the second mugfull
while the Gaelic band plays elsewhere.
The moon’s larger than she’s ever known.
She’s tired of smiling, wants her lips
to burn to silence, her ears to rest
from adjusting to accents, her eyes to start seeing
double. She senses her before she sees her,
glimpsed in the mirror, opposite the bed,
past the flowers – a woman, not a poet –
just a woman drinking alone.
She doesn’t like to judge
but that whisky’s half her age.

Katrina Naomi

St Andrews St Andrews


No poetry map of Scotland would be complete without lots of poems about St Andrews, and this first one we're posting is not only about St Andrews but also about StAnza, by the poet Katrina Naomi. It was first published in The London Magazine in 2012, and sharp eyes will notice that it contains the lines which appeared on the StAnza coffee coasters.  

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