One Poem by by Toti O’Brien


In my dreams, you cannot stop dying. Your death
a continuum, ceaseless and laborious. Eternity 
isn’t the afterlife but the very event of your passing 
in whatever form my unconscious can shape. 

Your long death is a pool party—naked bodies 
withering in green foam, part zombies, part relics.

It is a gas station where I can’t fill my motorbike.
Fuel and blood are stuck in the pumps, perhaps frozen. 

It is bread I store for hungry refugees—piles 
of rotting loaves going to waste.

It’s a room within an ancient palace. Facing
the four corners, we are whispering words 
that vaults amplify by some acoustic wonder. 

In the equivalent of a hall of mirrors, we are 
sighing trivial confessions, stale secrets. 

As you did night and day, remember? 
Your voice muted, an inaudible rasp
muffled by the oxygen mask. 

Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise Press, 2020), In Her Terms (Cholla Needles Press, 2021), Pages of a Broken Diary (Pski’s Porch, 2022) and Alter Alter (Elyssar Press, 2022).

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