Sean Morrissey

Sean Morrissey

Over Baltimore Harbor

It’s independence day in the city
and Aaron Kestle is in room 804

watching the blue tail of a heart
monitor take off and burst.

He took one to the shoulder
dawdling behind his father

near Patterson Park, an orphan
bullet shot with the care you

take losing a cigarette in the dark.
All across midtown boys

with charred thumbs snuff sparkler tips
while Aaron has bled through

his shirt and into his father’s
until they become indistinguishably wounded.

In memories of today—
cream soda, sawdust,

my father, poking the plastic stem
of his rocket into wet, failing soil,

the metallic stream
that whistled through the trees,

recovering the shell twisted in briars,
blackened with soot and pointed down.

My memory has never
found itself at a child’s bedside

by the nurse dabbing his mouth
with Kleenex as fireworks bloom over

the expressway and the abandoned cars
falling over their city like tinsel,

where I’m leaning shouldered against
the truck and my father’s arm,

our shadows flashing on the pavement
so close they become indistinguishable.

SEAN MORRISSEY is a poet and writer from Baltimore, Maryland. His poetry and reviews have appeared in Pleiades, Urbanite, and The Stillwater Review, among others. He currently resides in East Wall, Dublin.