top of page

Patrick O'Reilly



gauze and Columbia

blue glaze folded

over cracked plaster


gamine’s foot. Green,

severe shape. Piercing, stony

pressure on the serpent’s neck,


eyes bulging, red-gold globe

and Mary’s foot fixt at the nape,

a buzzard’s, pre-flight.




                                        On this branch a siren trilling.


And that, a game-hen, squeaking in oil.


                                                                            There a bell-shaped, bell-coloured   noise,


         and everywhere a lick of red tongues,



                    a fire framing the hive.


                                                                    They light like


                                                            demiquaver notes on staves                                                              

           of too-fast music,


                                                           bustle each other like


atoms on market day.


                                                                                                  So when a crack

                                                                                                                        of spring


                                     thunder catches



one                                             falling from             branch                         to  branch mid



note: they shriek,             shivaree, swoop


            down note




                                    their million   narrow blades


whetting                      their black                               boughs                        before


                        tatting the air to millionths.



Driftwood, chiffarobe, last year’s French book,

three months’ copies of Newfoundland Herald,

two shadow boys portaging a shadow chesterfield – hurled,

all of them, into the fire.                                    

                                         The tribal

ritual needs you splash through the flames

gripped in the warmth of some spirited Black Horse,

in and out, to and fro, back and forth

’til the fire grows toothless.

Thumbing the melted lip of your rubber.

Revving, rerevving the Articats.

This is the boredom primeval: the idle

hate of a place that you’d burn a small square of it.

The way we burn brown grass black for green, heap up pyramids

to pyrrhic victory, scorched earth policy.


The night turns to nothing. There is so much space

the empties are full of it. Even the fires shrink

at the thought. Like pissholes in the snow. Polish

her off and turn home.

OReilly Regina Mundi
OReilly Waxwings
Oreilly Idle

About the Writer

         Patrick O'Reilly is a Montreal-based poet and critic. He has written for untethered, The Walrus, and Numéro Cinq. In 2017, he was included in In/Words Press's 30 under 30 anthology.

Oreilly Bio
bottom of page