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Poetry by Kathleen O'neil

Beside the Lake
Spilled Tea
Published Janurary 11, 2017


The pulpy ground recedes; running
fast enough on silk
rove on
rip open this hazard.

He ground the sticks into powder but
it took forever
on mango charcoal.

I melted my debt, and sit
in my hamlet while you hunt me. Cold
berries gleam,

He flings himself
slake your wishes
the rocks are burning--vapor cuts eyes.

Beside the Lake

I want to peel off the outside
birch bark, thin and thick

strips woven in a coronet fair.

Wear it. Sedate and prideful. The
deep sway as you walk
draws me back.

I want to take apart, deconstruct your name
lay you out on the dew
whisper in the dim light.

All the awarded honors
should be buried deep on the land;

It's not dark and desolate; there is no silence
I can't hear past the ringing
The earth below, climb down that
ancient ladder
wild. My ankle nicked;

you planned it. Oil and wine seep into the ground.

All the cloth and fire is entangled. I can't see
the canopy of stars. Outlaw the jewels I lay on;
My Lord, hestios, they hurt.

Let the thick verdant brush accelerate,
please, brush your tough sabz cords until
even the eyes on the kylix
blink away.

You are my phleon. Come closer.
I will tell you what I'll give you in return.


This lantern is glassy with wear; I can
only see reflections from the past. I say
you should be hallowed, and laid out with roses.

A courtyard overgrown with vines is just beyond the lane.
Over the edge of the great wall a bear is visible.

I finally got what I wanted from you:
a hornbook carved by hand. There are more than
letters there; they whisper the secrets
of your fingers.

I is for incendiary. I hope you don't pour red ochre
over my gravestone in the end.

Let me go bury a piece of ginger bread in cold, thick earth--
no reason. Don't worry about it.

Spilled Tea

From hip to shoulder
I want you to wear my torque, over and over,
squares of peat encased in brass, linked
The past weighs down on you, on me
so inexorable and light
I am afraid we will forget its oppression
and give in.

The gamboge sky is a warning.

Kathleen O'Neil went to McGill in Montreal and travels extensively, currently
studying Cambodian art and classical dance. Kathleen lives in Liverpool, New

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