Friday, March 27, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Waiting in Hospice

This time why
doesn’t matter
all that matters is

what and when
it’s finally over
he'll know

who was right
the last time
he saw them

at the wake
20 years ago
his big sister

the atheist
his little brother
the monk

The Canyon Dwellers

There’s this canyon
between two cliffs
and Tim Boyd has a foot
planted on each cliff.
He’s spread-eagled
but very steady.

He's been stretched
over the canyon since
he got back from Iraq.
After he took his position,
he thought someone
would eventually look up.

There are others
spread over the canyon
in front of Tim.
They’ve been there
since Viet Nam and
getting a bit wobbly.

In back of Tim
are the new arrivals
spread-eagled as well.
They’re fresh from
Afghanistan and they're
getting their feet set.

The rest of us below
have jobs and are busy
with families and lives.
When a canyon dweller falls
and makes a terrible mess,
we find the time to look up.


Professor Burns is interested
in macro issues only,
no minutiae for him.

So he asks students
on the first day of class why
water swirls counterclockwise

when you flush a toilet
anywhere in America
and to determine as well

by midterm if the water swirls
clockwise elsewhere in the world.
Or if the counterclockwise swirl

is uniform all over the planet.
Extra credit will be given
to the student who proves

the counterclockwise swirl is
a conspiracy of plumbers.
The final exam, he says, is

an essay question asking if ISIS
will reverse the swirl clockwise
when it takes over the world.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

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