Issue 25 – 2014 – Ryan Flaherty

Ryan Flaherty


from The Narrows

And again dawn 
cracks our terrariums 
and eats us 

whole, we thresh 
air, the current
foils and stints

air we gulp 
and cough on,
we rut and ferret

the hallows, 
bright pinchers vs
dark, a poised

frog egg bursts
its wax, 
an ethereal

panic lifts 
and we swallow
air and dark like

and greenwood

the current, 
like a fungus, 

air like welkins
in the cave mud, 

frog legs 
scissoring open
the gelatinous,

white water 
chuting like quartz, 
we backhive

and rend 
to pieces, our bones 
tense and thresh

like reeds, 
we go larval
and dense through

the narrows, 
we range into
mineral, pulse

as groundwater,
fleck semaphores
and platelets,

eclipse and decant 
into fissure,
and still our

metabolism cranks,
just make

it up, dark 
giving light shape 
vs light giving

dark an angle, 
let’s repeat

for clarity 
until our crackling

hushes us 
to ash, and our awful 
child presses

close a flume 
of breath,
a dank form

of genesis 

a bite 
and a kiss,
and with magnetic 

we flee vascular
and none,

and none, back
to the surface.



Ryan Flaherty‘s first book of poems, “What’s This, Bombardier?,” won the Lena Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series from Pleiades Press/LSU Press. He also has two chapbooks from Bateau Press and Small Fires Press. Forthcoming and recently published poems and essays can be found in ConjunctionsBoston ReviewBOMBlogColumbia and Crazyhorse.