Loose Talk

Katie Donovan


“The market for sex dolls is on the rise” – The Guardian, June 5th, 2018

Nag, prattle, palaver -
he’s had enough
of loudmouthed chatter -
better to invest
in a life-like version,
a girly robot doll,
great for sex
and a button to press
if he wants “talk.”
The deluxe model
will laugh at his jokes.

                                    Unless she entertains
                                    he prefers

                                    the dumb tongue.

I’m with the old wives:
it’s our tales that get told.
Silence is false gold
if it swallows up
assault, incest, rape;
medical mistakes.                             
I’ll speak as I wish –
roses or toads –
with the audacious gossips:
no secret safe
between our lips.

KATIE DONOVAN is an Irish poet living in Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin. She has published five collections of poetry, all with Bloodaxe Books UK. Her most recent collection, Off Duty (2016) was shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award in 2017. In that year she also received the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry. Her work has been widely anthologized, notably in the bestselling Staying Alive: real poems for unreal times, edited by Neil Astley, and in The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry, edited by Peggy O’Brien.

image: Vasily Maksimov, Old Wives’ Tales, 1867