Monday, July 6, 2015

Harvesting Pumpkins

From villages in Iowa,
Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska
and from towns in the Dakotas,
Wisconsin and Michigan,

there stream to Chicago in spring
parades of lithe girls
looking for boys 
who will look at them

but who find instead
the men who will wine them
through summer,
who will wait until fall

to thresh in the fields
one summer can ripen,
the men who will watch
till a pumpkin falls from the vine.

This is the courtship
village girls dream about,
laugh about, hope for.
Come fall, these are the men

who fill silos of girls
from Elkhart and Davenport,
Ely and other small places,
lithe girls who in spring

come to Chicago looking for boys
who will look at them
but who find instead
the reapers, the men.


Donal Mahoney


Email to a Son

Hard to believe you graduated 
from college 25 years ago.
Anyone who can climb 

from ruffian in a juvenile home
to university graduate to 
business owner is remarkable.

One day your sons
will come to understand that.  
Your siblings as well.

Couldn’t be prouder of your trek, 
a magnificent one, done the hard way, 
something I viewed from the valley. 

My father had a passbook 
with cash for me to go to college. 
He always had work, hard work,

highly skilled, with no layoffs. 
There’s always a demand for hot wire
electricians willing to climb 

tall poles and high towers, 
attack voltage in any weather. 
Life never steps back, forever upstream, 

and then suddenly we're salmon. 
A final thrust or two and we die. 
Thank God we have souls. 

Donal Mahoney


Wildlife in the Garden

Birds and possums, 
coons and squirrels
frequent my wife’s garden.

Dawn to dusk I spy on them
from an upstairs window
next to my computer.

They remind me of the city
poor foraging in Dumpsters.
This morning a coon dispatched

a possum that had 
frightened away two feral cats 
I feed every day at 4 a.m. 

When I went out on the deck
and waved my arms to dispatch
the coon, he sat on his rump

and stared at me with a glare
I saw 50 years ago in the eyes
of a girl who became a nun. 

She is still a nun today. 
She said cut it out back then.
As did the coon today. 

Donal Mahoney