Monday, June 25, 2012

A Poem by Patrick Lawrence O'Keeffe


                                              Blue Knothole

A plug of wood fallen into shuttered plant
invites a sudden ray of sun to pierce
the dark. On hulk of old machinery gutted
and strewn about the floor oxidation
leaps to bright orange—dazzles with unexpected
splendor a pale moth who ‘round and ‘round fiery rust
stirs with her dance the dust of old factory bones.

From loading pit—now heaped with trash—we shipped
five hundred tons a month in fabricated pipe—
steam lines for office tower or paper mill
whose manhole lids whisper through Winter still
in Millinocket or Saint Paul—or barracks at Fort Drum.
Next to stacked and banded flat-beds at the dock
we would take our lunches on concrete edge
legs dangling in space. Remember? A white pigeon
in flight rafter-to-rafter crapped from on high
just as Al unwrapped his liverwurst on rye.
Cuss words laced our syllables of laughter.

Earth turns. Sun pared to sharpened pencil point
winks out. Shadows return with creak and clank
and lost voices merge into echo ever receding.
Moth risen up—flutter of wing—teases
a blue knothole opening out to the sky.

Patrick Lawrence O’Keeffe is a poet and freelance writer. Raised on a Pennsylvania dairy farm, he resides in Port Clinton, Ohio, with his wife Karen. Published materials include humorous Op-Ed essays in the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune, book reviews in the Morrow County (Ohio) Sentinel, poems in the Blue Lake Review and Erie Wire, and self-published works of poetry and fiction. When he is not machining crankshafts on the evening shift, he scribbles verse and stories in a red pocket notebook. A participant in the Firelands Writing Center, he reads his poems at Mr. Smith’s Coffee House in Sandusky, Ohio.

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