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‘Osborne Street, Fall River, Massachusetts’ and other poems by Mary Shay McGuire

By: Mary Shay McGuire

Osborne Street, Fall River, Massachusetts

Of the men that flirted, winked and laughed
Of the men that teased that she was a woman at four
Of the boy who wanted to touch
Of the boy who wanted to show
Of the mothers who tied their daughter’s
braids in tight twined thread
Of the mother who slept
Of the nuns who wore black
Of the railed hill that was too steep
Of the father returned from war
in the new green Buick
Of the brother beginning to break
Of the times to remember this
again and again



silent dusk and now
the crows one by one
gliding to the trees
until the they bloomed
bouquets of black

the sky, the trees were
what I dreamed-
the etchings
of Renaissance German woods
the Dutch winter of Breughel
that near pain of innocence,
birds, trees, sky, earth


Driving to the Ocean

all it takes is a white clapboard house
on a winding road
and I am back
I am seven
in the backseat of the car seeing

the scrubby fields, rusty trucks
then the land begins to Driving open
the sun on white here and there houses

the daggered leaves of Irish Bells on lonely
once-were-mansion grounds
its road whispered about each time
where long ago a girl’s raped
dead body had been found

wild flowers and sometimes orange day lilies
that the grownups say we can stop
and pick on the way back
and never do

the yard with a pet monkey in a red skirt
tethered on a long rope to a lone tree
her nimble fingers holding an apple
that she gnaws in monkey delight

then woods, gentle woods
with sunlight streaming through
and a river, a quiet river
then a hill crests
gulls raucous overhead
and, by God, water so blue
we all laugh and laugh


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