Daniel Lawless

——to Gellu Naum

…black bloody claws stuck shoulder-high: violence, anguish, absence.
And one must consider also the tree. Imagine
There is an underground mycorrhizal network weaving hyphae
Finer than old men’s hair root to root at a cellular level (there is),
A wood-wide web where druggie maples trade tips
On scrounging the best free-sugars, stately sycamores kibitz, cavil
About the sorry state of bulk pore space, fret about aphids (they do).
Though it’s not all scary, or quotidian. A dying birch offers everything
It was so a seedling might get a little sunshine; the neighbors
Chip in, too. How far can we be from the human sensation of grief, or joy?
Now about those claw marks. A wound to the one who left them
As to their receptor. The awful news
Announced with a howl; a soughing of limbs, that sudden
Furious murmur of leaves in windless fields.



Untitled, But Maybe

Reveriries ar fugit sectare
If you want to go full Catholic, circa 1961.
How we adored me
As you lay your soft hands so softly
                              there and there,
Traipsing a fine path
From pink cheekbone to sparse jet
Pubis with shaky fingers;
Pleasure sin trebled
As we stood before your rectory bedroom mirror.
O Father—O Jerry—musty and mustachioed, six Stroh’s
To the wind, how your shame inflamed me, became me,
Became mine.


Daniel Lawless’s book The Gun My Sister Killed Herself With and Other Poems is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry Press in 2018. He has published or has poems forthcoming in American Journal of Poetry, Asheville Review, B O D Y, The Common, Cortland Review, decomP, FIELD, frACTalia (Romanian), Louisville Review, Manhattan Review, Marsh Hawk Review, Numero Cinq, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Solstice, and others journals and reviews. He is the founder and editor of Plume: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry.