Two Poems by John Michael Flynn

A Daughter’s Safety, A Father’s Patience
A weary magpie
he blankets her from afar.

Dusk thickens
remembered promises.
He wants to tell her
he’s lived, died, become –

Vespers of rain begin,
sweeten the air
as he keeps to his vigil
knowing they’ll go inside when she says so.

He’d forgotten such rains
don’t alarm the playful.

Splinter, Rail, Couch
Like Ichabod Crane’s pumpkin,
like Yogi Berra’s mitt in need of oil
skin cracks boils and petrifies
until textured into horrid extremes.

You like to think you accept this, but you hold on
to smoother treacle-like notions of your face
as a once elegant strand fit for an impressionistic
rendering complete with Sunday picnickers and parasols.

Fading while falling out of the exploding regions
in your corporeal terrain and its various war zones
you raid your heedless senates and caterwauling closets
full of faddish cream-potions, antiseptics and unguents.

You hear again each dawn in the wake of your insomnia
those chases, provocations and longings that have defiled you,
each one like a beloved aunt dead and buried
that you’ve got a picture of but have never met.

Some sing of surfaces as realms and this offends you
as over-simplified, dishonest, deceptive.
You ask what it is about surfaces and stark associations –
what you bring to them and how they stir fires within.

For you, there are no realms, no frosted glass fantasies.
You open your eyes or else you slam another door.
There is the muck, silk, steel and played-out edges of self-knowledge.
The dream-fever train never stops. You ride or else you get off.

About the Poet
John Michael Flynn, a resident of central Virginia,  is currently an English Language Fellow with the US State Department, teaching English in Khabarovsk, Russia. His most recent poetry collection, Keepers Meet Questing Eyes (2014) is available from Leaf Garden Press ( Find him on the web at