Stirring : A Literary Collection

Tom Sheehan


The pear tree, bent
beside the house,
has angry skin,
wears many years’

bruises, the applied rod,
frenzies of a whip,
manacle marks where
my brother’s chain fall

held the brute mobile,
a ’37 Ford engine,
as he faltered through
the mechanics of July.

In the smashed fist
of upper limbs one moon
of October, afraid my breath
was seen, that an aura

glowed my telltale place,
I soft-chimed my belfry
hideaway, saw chums
as mice scatter in shadow.

In winter it contorts whistles.

I’ve seen it Septembers
boiling like an olla stew,
whipped by Caribbean madness
up the coast from Hatteras,

but promising only kindling.
Its roots are like best friends,
summons servers, tax collectors.
All my years it has dared

dread December its bidding,
worn alien icy crowns
sometimes diamond-bright
into spring’s heart.

You’ve never known this:
in a high fork, sun-bleached,
pruned by the hard seasons,
your name is another bruise,

letters clumped bulgy as toads
pretending they will leap.
I was fifteen at the carving,
feel the knife’s handle yet

within my hand, the single
breast, hear your windy name
sighing through the splatter
of leaves, vespers of youth.

Oh, Love, when hearth fire strikes
into the names of these limbs,
we shall be warm again.

Date of Birth: 1928
Location: Boston, Massachusettes
Publications: Small Spiral Notebook, 3amMagazine, The Paumanok Review, Nefarious, Split Shot, Slow Trains, Kota Review, Dakota House, Melange, InterText, Stirring V3:E7, V3:E8, etc.
Books: The Saugus Book, Ah, Devon Unbowed, and Reflections from Vinegar Hill.
Awards: Pushcart XXVII nomination

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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