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Donnelly Poem



When I signed for her ashes

I received her, as once
       she received me
into her lyric hold
       and let me ride anchor there,
smaller than the letter alif.

They gave her into my hands,
       seven pounds, two ounces,
as once they had given
       me into her hands.

I set her on the hearth shrine,
       as she set me once a place at her table,
among her other needy charities.

After nine months I scattered her
       back to that cold, delphine Atlantic of hers,
to tidal squalls that rip
       and sigh their salt across the rocks,

as once she let me fall

      onto this world’s
gasping, shouting, love-stained shore.


Originally published in American Poetry Review, and in Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012). Used
 with permission of the author. All rights reserved.