Ever felt that hopelessness when you hold
a dead bug in your palm?
There’s no end to them,
once you start looking,
legs stiff and set upwards like toddlers, waiting
to be lifted.
But then, a rock anthem, a new playlist,
made for you
by someone younger.
And it’s: Road Trip! I-5 vineyards, hazelnut
trees outside Tilikum,
fingers cramping at the wheel.
And those dead insects? Let me tell you—
When I was twenty, I fell for a devil
with tin-can eyes.
He said my scars made me crazy.
Then, one by one, he married
shut ins and suicides.
You might wonder why I want to push in a shard
of memory, sharp as a needle prick
they say is just a pinch everytime,
and you believe it.
You know the fence posts as you drive? The telephone poles?
One after another. Bam bam bam, like the shutter-click of a photo shoot,
or that trope of moth and pane:
What I’m talking about is running away
to see yourself more clearly
by changing views—
The wind, bats in moonlight, September
leaves scattering in Seattle,
that arroyo with the great arced bridge—
That’s why roads are made: to hear the same bird,
weeping your favorite song.
Dion O’Reilly‘s debut collection, Ghost Dogs, was runner-up for The Catamaran Prize and shortlisted for several awards, including The Eric Hoffer Award. Her second book Sadness of the Apex Predator will be published by Cornerstone Press in 2024. Her work appears in Cincinnati Review, The Sun, Rattle, Narrative, The Slowdown, and elsewhere. She facilitates private workshops, hosts a podcast at The Hive Poetry Collective, and is a reader for Catamaran Literary Quarterly. She splits her time between a ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains and a residence in Bellingham, Washington.