Rose Kelleher


Spare me the cool blue, the sultry silk.
Forget what women tell you women like.

I know, their lips were longing and all that.
But if you want to please me, hunker down

and dig deep. Write me a raw red onion,
tugged up from its dirty hiding place.

Meet me under the past's fluorescent light,
at the scarred kitchen table. Here's the knife

you sharpen in your dreams, and here's the root
of everything. Be fearless, plunge right in,

towards pungency. There's Daddy with his frown,
big brother with his shirt off. Look for the cigar

behind the smoke, look for the antique lamp
that set the house on fire. When you find Jesus

suffering sweetly in the convent garden,
you're getting warmer. Here the air gets close,

onion musks your fingers, and your eyes
begin to sting. You feel the juice kick in,

and deep in your genes old species reappear
in shapes you don't have names for. Here

the dark-eyed villain rubs his hands together,
cackling over his evil-genius plot,

here at the nasty heart, the knifepoint at
the center of the onion, where it's hard and hot.

Rose Kelleher’s poems have appeared in Anon, The Shit Creek Review, Snakeskin, and other venues. Her first book, Bundle o'Tinder, was published by Waywiser Press in 2008.



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