Hot summer nights

in the thick close air

on the front porch

Dad listening to

the Tiger Game

after a full day

on the railroad job

his Tareyton glowing

in the dark

orange & off

like a firefly

flirting with Ernie Harwell

as he ran down

the play by play


he’d let me

take it upstairs

to my bedside

& huddle by

the green glow

my head pulsing

all night as

the world split open

like the birthing place

of a woman

& I was born again

in the dark

to the beat

to the miracles

they never sang about in church

or talked about downstairs

& nobody knew

that little boy

burst open

on those nights

& was made new

by heavy music

with skin

& blood

& wild desire

that played my body

& sent a night train


down my spine

& Momma

once I caught it

I never got off

–Patrick O’Leary


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