Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Surprise, Surprise

The mother's dead. 
Thirty years later 
you meet the daughter 
and realize the daughter 
is the mother again, 
poking her finger 
in your chest half an hour
after her plane lands. 
The same laugh knocks
folks in the elevator 
back a bit.

Every time the daughter 
grabs your arm 
to emphasize a point
the way the mother did,
you want a ticket
to the Maldives
or maybe Bulgaria.
Sofia in the summer
might be nice.

This time, however,
you stay put.
She found you
on the Internet.
You must admit
the freckles 
across her nose 
scream she's right: 
You are her father. 
Surprise, Surprise.
Her mother never said.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Nothing is anywhere anymore,
Dad shouts over the phone.
His reveille again at 4 a.m.
Will I come over and find it?

What's missing, Dad, I ask.
It's midnight and I'm in bed.
It'll take awhile to get there.

Your mother went to make 
pineapple upside down cake 
hours ago and still no cake.
She's nowhere to be found.
I called the neighbors.
They won't come over.
It's just me and the dog
and he's asleep.
Son, I need your help.

Mom died 10 years ago, Dad.
You and I went to the funeral.
We buried her at St. Anthony's.
Remember all the rain?
And then the rainbow shining?

Son, you're right again.
Sorry I woke you but where's
the pineapple upside down cake?
I've been waiting for hours.
A little snack and I'll turn in.


I used to dream 
in black and white
but now I dream in color.
Blood is red and real
puddling on the pavement
not some shadow
from the past.

The further back I go 
the more the blood puddles
becoming ponds
becoming lakes 
becoming oceans
suddenly a giant seiche
foaming across the sidewalk 

throwing me back  
to where I have to go 
to find the hand 
that held the knife
decades ago
when the blood 
began to flow.

I'll tell the bastard
after all these years
it’s easy to forgive
harder to forget.
The time has come 
to pray before 
all is said and done.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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