Shining Rock Poetry Anthology

"January Drought," by Conor O'Callaghan


It needn't be tinder, this juncture of the year,   

a cigarette second guessed from car to brush.   


The woods' parchment is given   

to cracking asunder the first puff of wind.   

Yesterday a big sycamore came across First   

and Hawthorne and is there yet.   


The papers say it has to happen,   

if just as dribs and drabs on the asbestos siding.   

But tonight is buckets of stars as hard and dry as dimes.   


A month's supper things stacks in the sink.   

Tea brews from water stoppered in the bath   

and any thirst carried forward is quenched thinking you,   

piece by piece, an Xmas gift hidden   

and found weeks after: the ribbon, the box.   


I have reservoirs of want enough   

to freeze many nights over.





Conor O'Callaghan is an Irish poet who has taught at Villanova, Wake Forest and Carnegie Mellon universities. "January Drought" first appeared in Poetry (March 2009) and was collected in The Sun King (Wake Forest Press 2013).


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