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Poetry Breakfast

Serving a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry book reviews to feed poets' and poetry lovers' souls.

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Donal Mahoney

Big Smile in the Sky – A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Big Smile in the Sky

Something’s still bright
when a widow dies
and her son flies in

gives her body to science
has the movers
pack all the valuables

he wants shipped home
gives the rest to Goodwill
puts the house up for sale

takes a late night flight
leaves nothing behind
to say who the lady was

except for her garden
brilliantly in bloom
with roses and lilies

and phlox all applauding
and the sun ear to ear
a big smile in the sky.

 

About the Poet:
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found here: http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html

 

Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round.  See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.

 
Photo by Carol Bales

Trash Cans at the Manion House – A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Trash Cans at the Manion House

When I was in grammar school
I knew it was Wednesday
when I looked out the window
and saw across the street
three trash cans at the curb
in front of the Manion house.

No matter how early I got up
the three cans would be there
looking like a trio waiting
to break into song.

When I’d get home from school,
the cans would be gone.
They had been put away,
I figured, until their next gig
the following Wednesday.

When I was in high school,
I noticed one day only two
cans standing at the curb.
I was told the son had married
and moved to another city
and his parents missed him.
But two cans were enough
to tell me it was Wednesday.

When I came home from college,
I noticed my first week back only
one can was stationed at the curb.
My mother told me at breakfast
Mr. Manion had died and
Mrs. Manion wasn’t doing well.

For the years I was in college
that solitary can was always
in front of the house.
It was still there when I
graduated, found a job,
married and moved away.

My wife and I would visit my folks,
and one Sunday after dinner
my father asked me to give him
a lift to the doctor on Wednesday.
When I pulled up in the car
I noticed no can was waiting
in front of the house.

My mother told me Mrs. Manion
had died and the house was for sale
at a good price in case my wife
and I might be interested.
She said it would be a good place
to raise kids if we ever had any.
My father usually said little
but coughed and agreed.

They seemed happy because
I hadn’t said no to the idea.
I knew they would like us
to live across the street but
I wanted to talk with my wife.
But my parents stared at me
when I asked if they could find out
if the trash cans were included
in the price of the house.
I’d need them on Wednesdays.

 

About the Poet:
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found here: http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html

 

Photo by Carol Bales

Caseworker Takes Notes by Donal Mahoney

Caseworker Takes Notes
by Donal Mahoney

I was there the day
there trickled down the wall
of an old man’s room one roach

that stopped across
a canyon in the plaster till
the old man’s elevated slipper fell.

The roach absorbed the blow
and as though perforated for that purpose
dissolved into an archipelago.

The old man looked at me
and patiently explained, “Despite my
constant smacking of its brethren

one roach each day will trickle down that wall
and pause and pose as if to say,
‘Go ahead and smack me, that’s okay.’ ”

To take advantage of the archipelago at hand
the old man pointed toward the last palpitating island
and once again explained,

“Each roach I smack, you see,
offers me that same good-bye–
one last flicker of antennae.”

Donal Mahoney has had work published in various print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/

Father: Every Morning of His Life by Donal Mahoney

Father: Every Morning of His Life
by Donal Mahoney

The cup he took his tea from
all those years was Army surplus,
made of tin. It whirred

to the spoon he wound in it
15 times per lump of sugar.
We who slept in rooms just off

the kitchen rose like ghosts
to the winding of that spoon.
In my house, now, mornings

Sue’s the first downstairs. She
scalds the leaves and wonders:
Will the winding ever end?

Donal Mahoney has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, Commonweal, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. Some of his earliest work can be found here: http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/

The Corner of Wells and Madison by Donal Mahoney

The Corner of Wells and Madison
by Donal Mahoney

I know that if I ever
fall in the street
the way that man did,
in the middle of an intersection,
someone will mind.
But if unlike that man
I make it
to the other side,
scale the curb and
mount the sidewalk
and then fall,
no one will have to
drive around me.
There will be no extra noise.
There will be only the usual honking.
People walking by
will have to watch their step, true.
But this is Chicago:
No one can blame me for that.

 

 

Donal Mahoney has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, Commonweal, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. Some of his earliest work can be found here: http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/

Lifts Her Like A Chalice by Donal Mahoney

Lifts Her Like A Chalice
by Donal Mahoney

The weekday Mass at 6 a.m.
brings the old folks out
from bungalows
around the church.
They move like caterpillars
down sidewalks,
some with canes,
some on walkers.

Father Doyle says the Mass
and then goes back to the rectory
to care for his mother
who cannot move or speak
because of a stroke.

And every Sunday at noon
when the church is full,
Father Doyle, in full vestments,
wheels his mother
in a lump
down the middle aisle
and lifts her like a chalice
and places her in the front pew
before he ascends to the altar.

Sometimes at night,
when his mother’s asleep,
Father Doyle comes back to the Church
and rehearses in the dark
three hymns she long ago
asked him to sing at her funeral.

He practices the hymns
because the doctor said
she could go at any time.
When that time comes,
he doesn’t want to miss a note.
The last thing she ever said was
“Son, I’ll be listening.”

Donal Mahoney has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, Commonweal, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications. Some of his earliest work can be found here: http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/

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