My Last Professor
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
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.