Rounds — Eileen Cleary


Outside, two men I pronounced dead visit as crows

on telephone wires. Their voices as soft as a morphine dose.

Parking lot pines don’t mind returning as pines. Then, a third death.

A woman I find in a Murphy bed under a skylight. Her eyes absorb an

unprocessed snapshot of stars arranged two thousand years ago.

I thought about the spaces the dead occupy, like my friend

whom I did not pronounce, though I felt her pulse wane

while my ear pressed against her chest.      I can’t find her.

One crow is an old man. Now a younger man with my friend’s eyes

is a crow in the space of a few hours.  The sky’s shedding its skin.

A woman is waiting for me to look for signs of life.  This one

may not have let go living yet.          So I do this for her.              Stall.

Keep her family occupied.        Give her time to leave. Tuesday morning

another pine carves a black swan into its bark      while six hawks hold up the sky.

Eileen Cleary is a graduate of Lesley University’s MFA program and earned a second MFA at Solstice. She is a recent Pushcart nominee and has work published or upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, J Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Nixes Mate, West Texas Literary Review and Main Street Rag. She edits the Lily Poetry Review and manages The Lily Poetry Salon. Her first full-length manuscript, ‘Child Ward of the Commonwealth’ is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press in Spring 2019.

Image, “Specifically Fond” —C. Ventre

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