Patrick Cahill

To the Water’s Edge

I set myself on fire again, deposit the gathering ashes in a mold, my shadow dancing them around the rim. The shadow I meant to wash away at memory’s end, turn off the light under our skin. You fill a pillbox with love’s complaints in wet black ink, smeared across the glow. You were always good at swallowing the rain. We had a drink on the lady seated just to our left. Added layers until we were ripe, overripe. A decline into yeast, she pointed out. We want to be contained. Our thoughts were always invisible till they struck whatever, a hammered copper bowl, a tusk. The way your eyes settle on the turmoil in a glass of rum. Or sharp thing the sun’s become, a canticle of edges. But that’s the way a trip takes place, retelling it.

Patrick Cahill’s poetry collection, The Machinery of Sleep, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2020. His prose and poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. His poems have twice won the Central Coast Writers Award. He is cofounder and editor of Ambush Review, a San Francisco-based literary and arts journal.

A Song for Patrick

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