All in by Dion O'Reilly

by Dion O’Reilly

Appetite makes them keen

when they scan the tunneled field

for shivers in the dead grass.

Their vision sharpens, pupils dilate.

From a mile away, they see

their feed, and they take it.

All my life, I’ve stowed my stories

like a box of banned books

under the bed. Each one, unforgiven,

an arc of trouble and want.

They quicken my hunger

for what I’ll never have

or never have again—

a mother mainly, certain men,

but a sister and brother too, a city

I walked in with hot paper cups,

my lips foamed with cappuccino

as it rained and rained.

Oh, the world feels tidal

when I get like this, when l can’t stop

hunting for something intimate and filling.

I see it lift from the soil.

The sun, a muzzle flash,

turning the meadow bright, burning

off the haze. I soar in, see it magnified,

everything itself only more so.


Dion O’Reilly has spent  much of her life on a farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Rattle, The Sun, Canary Magazine, Spillway, Bellingham Review, Atlanta Review and a many other journals and anthologies, including a Lambda Anthology. Her work has been nominated for Pushcarts and a variety of prizes and contests.