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My Last Professor

                   to Rafael

for he flipped me like a switch

lingered on my work

my eagerness, embarrassing

my feeble translations

my sudden view of Machado’s

white stork flying half asleep

over fields in Andalusía

or of Lorca, his scent of salt

and female blood

for my teacher burned his body

as fuel, his fingernails, amber

his breath, coffee and anís

for he took us into his living room

smoked and smoked for we all smoked

smoky eyes of children

like paintings on his walls

for he would fight with his beautiful wife

her thin capris the color of French mustard

her black sleeveless turtleneck

her black eyes and Shirley MacLaine hair

for he made me want

to duel with a woman I loved

flame away my lungs

obliterate the path I walked

by walking another path

Dion O'Reilly.jpg

Dion O'Reilly

Pronouns: She/Her

2 Poems

My Last Professor

My Old Mother Ghazal


My Old Mother Ghazal


In a black-walled bar, I dance, then go home alone.

What I feel in a group, chills to bone when I’m alone.


Craving perches on my tongue— madeline sweet, yolk color of fat,

whiskey-burn and vapors—it takes a toll, when I’m alone.


Who will bite my clothes off? Throb me, break me, lay me

wasted on frantic sheets. My hands are bold when I’m alone.


When I was a girl, monsters slept under the hills.

Soil on their backs, trying to stand. They still groan when I’m alone.


What would I be without knowing what my mother did to me?

What I let her do, even now, when I’m old and alone.


What my world is becoming is what I feared would happen.

She loosens my roof, relishes my torment. Croaks, You’ll be alone.


Before she dies, she’ll ruin me. Find a way to tempt me back,

Devour me in her sweet home, never leave me alone.


Dion, stop pretending she’s The Devil— that other Immortal of your faith.

Her eye bulges with blood. Her teeth rot. Soon she’ll be gone. Cold and alone.

Dion O'Reilly (she/her) grew up on a farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her debut book, Ghost Dogs, was published in February 2020 by Terrapin Books. Her work appears in American Journal of Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Narrative, The New Ohio Review, The Massachusetts Review, New Letters, and other literary journals and anthologies.  She is a member of The Hive Poetry Collective, which produces podcasts, radio shows, and events. She teaches workshops with poets from all over the United States and Canada.

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