KRISTIAN O’HARE

Kristian O’Hare

 

 

In the Lurch

 

Even the creeping myrtle
doesn’t stand a chance against
the lily-of-the-valley
as it storms the lawn, a cluster
of dark-green lanceolate leaves.

I lean on an old birch tree,
slightly hiding, nervously
picking at the peeling bark;
skin shedding like old paper.

Mom unyielding in her habit
of silence finally wields
the hand trowel & cleaves wild
into the spreading mass.

She wrings bell-shaped flowers
from their stems & wrangles thick
twisty roots; the pipes of couch grass
rhizomes white & wormy like
tentacles of a sea creature.

Dad, sleepy-eyed stoned, steps outside
to check on the status of
mom’s mood, lights a smoke & after
a few angry drags finally
asks “What the hell are you doing?”

She doesn’t reply; she holds tight
the silver blade & thrusts it
deeper into the loamy soil.
Dad snaps the Kool mentholated
from his lips, finger-shoots it
into the neighbor’s lawn.

He looks at me, shakes his head
& goes back inside the house,
slamming the door so hard
I hear picture frames fall from
the walls, glass shattering.

Finally I join her,
digging clumsily with a spade,
we tear up the rest of the lawn,
a floral massacre—
desiccated buds & limbs,
chunks of rock & confused worms.

Afterwards a release,
we both feel it, we achieved something,
a sort of victory.
She smiles at me, or dad
who now stands right behind me.
We breathe in the last sweet breath
of perfume silent as strangers.

 

 

In//Patient

 

               In a flung slumber,

his head droops
heavy like a peony.

                              One window: A broken pane patched with paper.

Knobby buds poke their little noses
                                             through a pocket-holed lining.

An operculum
shaped like a shell,
               finger-lobe

its lipped edge.

He heaves                      bent
                                             like a broken chair.

 

From silvery-haired drops
                              cobweb-like mycelial
                              strands & stretched saliva.

A flap of sporangium ropes//                  upright & slanting—

Conidia in the air, their triangular teeth
               clenched.
                                                                 Through thick-walled rope, this wretch wormed
                                                                                                         taut & slack///all criss-cross all tangle,

It rolls crop full of honey,
               brushes of its legs all floury
with pollen & lips chapped
               a white-peppered crumb.

A trowel its tongue       //coaxes//
                                                                                     the clawed petals
                                                                 all feathery white unfurls.

It inflates sac veined dark pink &
               exudes the blistering juice

                                                                 into his flowered crust.

Wait for the breathing bloat to
                                                                                     relieve this night hideous.

Kristian O'Hare

Kristian O’Hare’s poetry has been published in Cobalt Review and San Francisco State University’s Fourteen Hills. He was named a finalist at the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival for his poetry. He earned his Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in playwriting at Western Michigan University in 2009, and a Masters degree in English with an emphasis in playwriting from Boston University, where he worked with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. His plays have been produced or developed by the Ruckus Theatre (Chicago), Ringwald Theatre (Detroit), The Dramatists Guild Footlights Series (San Francisco), Ivy Theatre Company (NYC), Great Plains Theatre Conference (Omaha), and a number of other companies.

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