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June 6, 2023


Dion O'Reilly

Turns out there’s a difference

between a halo and a crown,

between one meant to love me

and a nest of snake-dead eggs,

between kingdoms of kelp weaving a dark sea

and my head underwater, held there

by a big sister’s hand.

Different, but real, like a new dialect

I hear but don't know,

a gender I’m not,

but wish to be,

a region I flee to

for the sake of a pregnant daughter

or this town,

without rain enough

or homes enough

to live in

without giving my body

day and night to an angry god.

Different, but not my country,

not my currency,

not my sister.

But green, this other world.

So green, it aches.

originally published in Saranac Review

Dion O'Reilly’s debut collection, Ghost Dogs, was runner-up for The Catamaran Prize and shortlisted for The Eric Hoffer Award. Her second book Sadness of the Apex Predator will be published by University of Wisconsin's Cornerstone Press in 2024. Her work appears in The Sun, Rattle, Cincinnati Review, Narrative, The Slowdown, and elsewhere. She facilitates private workshops, hosts a podcast at The Hive Poetry Collective, and is a reader for Catamaran Literary Quarterly. She splits her time between a family compound in the Santa Cruz Mountains and a residence in Bellingham, Washington.

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