Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Ghosts We Find

Full House
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Donal Mahoney, St. Louis
When I get home
things will be the same.
I haven't changed.

The sling
comes off the day
I get on the plane.

I'll be able
to cut the grass,
rake the leaves,

shovel the snow,
all the stuff I did before.
And every morning

in summer, fall,
winter and spring,
when we wake up,

I'll draw rosettes
with the tip
of my tongue

on your nipples,
await your orders to
bivouac elsewhere.

Nothing has changed.
I'm feeling fine.
We'll cleave again.


—Donal Mahoney

If a man lives
with a woman
long enough
it doesn't matter
what she says.
She can say anything
and she may,
barring chronic

What matters is
the xylophone she plays
when she says it.
Tones can range
from dulcet to
depending on her goal.

Tones can tell him
if the sun
shines on him at
the moment or if
Hurricane Jane is
swirling toward him
from across the table

so every man
must learn
the language of
the xylophone.
But above all
every man
must never marry
any woman who
plays the tuba. 

 Some Are Pirates
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Donal Mahoney

In 1956 April told Henry
her mother had told her
there's a time and a place
for that and the time

for that was certainly
not now but soon 
after the ceremony
after the reception

on their honeymoon
at Niagara Falls.
April hoped Henry
would like it for she

would be his as long
as his freckles 
danced the cha-cha
all over his nose.


—Donal Mahoney

If I met the same women now
I probably wouldn't know them.
They're missing teeth, I bet,
and have gray Medusa hair.

Their eyes no longer dance, I'm sure,
and they have liver spots everywhere.
They likely wobble in their flats
and haven't worn heels

since adding fifty pounds.
Some of them, I'm certain,
wouldn't recognize me, either,
despite thick spectacles.

They can't recall the picnics
we enjoyed with wine and caviar
under oak trees in Grant Park,
never mind the nights that followed.

Who needs a woman that forgetful?
I need a younger woman now,
someone I can finally marry,
a girl with a figure like Monroe,

Hepburn's eyes and Hayworth's hair,
someone lithe, slim and graceful,
someone strong enough to push
my wheelchair up the ramp.

Ladder to Beach
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

I felt a presence on the ridge,
spooky as a breath down the back of my
neck on a windless day.
My dog kept trotting up the logging road
with ideas of her own.

Do dogs sense ghosts? Or
was she trying to intercept a downdraft
rich with scents of midsummer’s day,
air piney with the smell of pitch?
Sticky. Every presence has a meaning.

A night-vision at noon. Cedars
shake so every branch and bract shivers—
what does it mean without a moon?
Or is it only the forest
animal with eyes deep as the dark?

Twigs in wind. The fabric
of bone entwined with a silver snag
that splits the moon, cleansed
with moonlight. Every presence has
a meaning, a ghost to find.


—Taylor Graham

A bus full of children
and their mothers wiping the mud
of road-dust mixed with tears and gunpowder
from their cheeks.
The crowd was shouting go back
where you belong
. A child remembers
streets where only the rats
don’t starve. That man with a 9mm
stare. Pathways locked
with opportunity for those who’d been here
long enough. A stranger
reached across a picket fence
and picked a rose
of colors uncountable
as children of the world.
In spite of thorns, she tossed it
through the bus window. It burst
into petals.   


Today's LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Wake up from the old anguish—
ferris-wheel spinning the same dream-
sleep worries of unspecified tomorrow;
unclocked pendulum
between memories of a long-lost friend
and the future unknown; the mind-
vulture pecking your knuckles.

Wake up
and smell the morning.
Pour a cup of joe, sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Walk outside and see
the kestrel regarding its world
from the thinnest


—Medusa, with thanks to today's cooks in the Kitchen. Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. His poetry and fiction have appeared in print and online publications in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at and he was featured on Medusa's Kitchen on 3/21/14.

Rocks and Waves
—Photo by Katy Brown