02 March 2006

Featured Poet: Michael O'Leary

Michael O'Leary is the founding editor of LVNG magazine and the co-director of Flood Editions. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in fracture mechanics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

for Stephanie Tipton

In the morning of the last day
of summer when the air is sharp
with coolish winds from Canada
and swallows dip along the hedge
at sinusoidal intervals
abandoning the last pliant tips
of little bluestem for the pale
vectors of nowhere, you know
it is not the laminar flow
of their vanishing nor their smooth
bellies that makes them beautiful.
Noon is now and the afternoon
a temptation, an afterthought
of pure abstraction, albeit
Jesuitic. But evening comes
like a stately lawn where a great
silver ball gently rolls to a stop.
In time the hollyhocks grow long,
in time the sunflower is beaten
down by the heat of its own
colossus and the last blossom
of the day is all but subsumed
by the supple granulation
of a very ancient wound.


The street quite still.
Down the long corridor

a light, several doors
and a single pine.

Conversations on
the wires are quiet,

sequestered from here
to there, ear to ear.

The most intimate
jokes get lost sometimes,

even simple questions
go unanswered.

Quiet's like that.
Magnificent crystals

of ice spider
across the creaking panes.


It was calm like bedtime
with water falling off the dam
in tiny castellations.

Flakes of limestone lay about
the base of massive piers raising
the truss above the river.

Water thunders from the turbine.
Two trash pickers sift through driftwood
for a lucky find.

And high above the sluice
a sparrow swoops down to catch
a fleck of dirty water

before resuming his little song
among the stalks of marshgrass dried
and split like last year's palms.

Copyright © 2006 Michael O'Leary

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