Nathanael O’Reilly – Study Duplex

Reilly LE P&W 3 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three Nov-Dec 2023.

Study Duplex, poems by Nathan O’Reilly.

Study Duplex

I knock on the wall between my study
and my daughter’s room, call for her to change.

I call to my daughter’s room for her to change
into clothes for dance, meet me at the car.

Wear dancing clothes, meet me at the car.
Drive past neighbor George arranging bins.

George is in the alleyway arranging bins;
he wears gardening gloves, collects trash.

George wears gardening gloves, collects trash
from the gutters, the detritus of gameday.

Gutters overflow with detritus from gameday;
coffee wafts from the fire station’s open door.

Coffee drifts from the fire station’s open door;
I knock seven times on the wall of my study.

An English Tragedy

After Ian McEwan’s Atonement

a young couple wrestle for control
of a vase on the edge of a fountain
unable to recognize mutual love
and lust, break the object of beauty

Aphrodite strips to her underwear
submerges in the pool, emerges
triumphant, angry, saturated

water drips from her glistening body
remains behind on the paving stones
evaporating like an absent father

meddlesome sister intervenes in adult
affairs, naïvely destroys lives, performs
the leading role in her one-girl play

mother retreats upstairs behind closed
doors and drawn curtains, denies
the reality of her existence

goddess in a green silk dress leads
her man to the dark library
for spontaneous bookcase sex

innocent man accused of a shocking
crime, convicted by class prejudices
banished to prison, writes coded letters

Cambridge pals in black tie sip cocktails
on the terrace, discuss investments
keep calm and carry on with their privilege

Bishop’s Beach

Hundreds of washed-up logs bleached by sun
and salty wind rest on rocks and grey sand.
Breaking waves sigh to shore. Seaweed gathers,
decomposes. Fresh green grass emerges
between rocks. The sun pierces clouds above
the swell and swale of Kachemak Bay.
Sea otters frolic, float on their backs.
Pine trees line the ridges of the Kenai
Mountains. Cloud shadows drift along the beach.
Water turns green west towards Russia.

© Nathanael O’Reilly

Irish-Australian poet Nathanael O’Reilly teaches creative writing at the University of Texas at Arlington. His ten collections include Selected Poems of Ned Kelly (Beir Bua Press, 2023), Dear Nostalgia (above/ground press, 2023), Boulevard (Beir Bua Press, 2021), (Un)belonging (Recent Work Press, 2020), BLUE (above/ground press, 2020) and Preparations for Departure (UWAP, 2017). His work appears in over one hundred journals and anthologies published in fifteen countries, including Another Chicago Magazine, Anthropocene, Cordite, The Elevation Review, Identity Theory, New World Writing Quarterly, Trasna, Westerly and Wisconsin Review. He is poetry editor for Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature.

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