Patrick Donnelly


A week before the lease was finished

and I had to leave that place, iris and lilac

exhaled urgent freshness over the yard, breathing

from purple tissue so tender as to be torn

by sunlight.  In the morning a moon hung

at the end of every street, testing the limit

of fullness, soon to be empty,


and in the afternoon I watched David

pull back a corner of John’s hospital gown,

to put a hand over his heart,

careful not to dislodge tubes and catheters,

at first just resting, then giving his nipple

a light, almost furtive tickle: final appeal

to the secret mercy of pleasure,

that terrible god




“Conjurement” is from The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003).