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
one falling from branch to branch mid
note: they shriek, shivaree, swoop
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.
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.
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.