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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing January 2023
Past Twilight, November, poems by Jamie O’Halloran.
Past Twilight, November
He gestures to point where before
these particular trees grew there
was . . . and with that stroke of arm
a trio of white-tailed deer explode
deeper into the new woods,
their namesake plumes bouncing
in the dark like cartoon sing-along balls.
It is this movement that gives them away.
Not a sound, or if any, slight,
so as to be taken for wind raking
oak and maple leaves ankle deep.
We are in the end of their growing.
Now their work will settle from stealing
green from the sun to rotting into mould
making up next season’s bed.
Out the window the chalky moon that nests
in my thumbnail is stuck over Cloosh Hill.
I can see the windpark’s scarecrow
arms swiping the air from the birds.
The sky is white-washed, rinsed of the night
before when it had emptied itself of cloud
and Orion’s belt was a studded brilliance.
That was when we fixed ourselves on the dark
lane beside the towering laurel,
struck by living so close to the stars.
Mariastella Trail, September, San Gabriel Mountains
Still summer, but at this altitude the seasons shift.
A fallen Jeffrey pine keeps its core,
surrenders branches, twigs, needles.
Buddha nature maybe,
Instead of reaching for the sky,
pine offers its mass to the earth,
the heartwood is not hollow. It’s
home to carpenter ants tunneling nests.
The dead tree lies apart from those still
living, a yard or so from a streambed
flooded with crisp leaves and acorn caps.
Wind tousles the forest. Today,
it cools the air, scatters gnats, hushes birds.
Cones lie open, withered by the same
current that scatters seed to the trail
weeks before the equinox
with the green already gone.
© Jamie O’Halloran
Jamie O’Halloran is the author of the three chapbooks, including Corona Connemara & Half a Crown which was a winner in the 2021 Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her poems appear recently in Poetry Ireland Review, 14 Magazine, Crannóg, Channel, One Hand Clapping, and anthologized in Romance Options and Local Wonders from Dedalus Press and Chasing Shadows from Creative Ireland. She was the 2021 Artist in Residence at Brigit’s Garden in County Galway and is a recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Agility Award. Her poetry reviews can be found in The Laurel Review, LitPub, and The Tupelo Quarterly. Jamie holds a Master’s in creative writing from the University of Washington. She lives in the Connemara region of County Galway in the West of Ireland.