Donal Mahoney Poems
In the waiting room, I squeeze
this old rosary a nun gave me
the day I got back from Iraq.
I was still in a daze on a gurney
and I still had sand in my hair.
Some of it remains, no matter
how many showers I take.
Sand from Iraq lingers, I'm told,
until you go bald, and then
you are able to concentrate
on other things.
What might they be, I wonder.
But today, in this waiting room,
I squeeze the rosary tighter
when I hear, louder than
the gunshots crackling in my dreams,
the real screams of that little boy
In Break Formation
The indications used to come
like movie fighter planes in break
formation, one by one, the perfect
plummet, down and out. This time they’re
slower. But after supper, when I hear her
in the kitchen hum again, hum higher,
higher, till my ears are numb,
I remember how it was
the last time: how she hummed