I am trying to forget a man
I don’t want to forget.
He could harp the strings of my body
with his spacetime eyes.
You could be a dancer, he said and I danced.
You could be a sparrow, he said and I sang.
Now, I see the curve of his back,
the half moons of his fingernails
in river rocks and languishing clouds.
Even clothes, pulled from my lonely closet,
ask for his permission.
I think I was pretty when I was young,
but there was something tragic in me.
I had that pale kind of skin, wan,
as if most of me were mist.
He knew my need was keen,
keen as a mother’s whip, a mother’s tongue
when she sends a girl to the woods
for dropping a silver spoon.
And that man I want to forget?
I think my deer eyes stirred him.
I think they made him want to open
his wounds like a trap door.
I have loved him ever since
the night I handed him my basket
of mint and clean fruit.
He took me, warm, inside him,
then ripped me out.
Dion O’Reilly’s first book, Ghost Dogs, was published in February 2020 by Terrapin Books. Her work appears in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Narrative, The New Ohio Review, The Massachusetts Review, New Letters, Sugar House Review, Rattle, The Sun, and other literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry has been nominated for several Pushcarts and been shortlisted for a variety of prizes.
Artwork: Laura Makabresku