Youngstown, NY – Nathanael O’Reilly
Kids ride bikes along the paths in Falkner
Park on a warm spring day as parents watch
from nearby benches. Couples stroll across
freshly-mown and edged green lawns, recline
in the shade of oak, sycamore and plane
trees. American and Australian flags
rustle in the breeze outside the house
facing the park as the homeowner mows
the lawn between the sidewalk and the street.
A walker in a yellow, blue and pink
sundress stops to chat with the lawnmower
man, gestures broadly. Moms push kids on swings,
dads stand with arms crossed beside the slide. Small
boys play shirtless in seventy-degree
weather, embrace the approaching summer.
Elderly couples stroll paved paths holding
hands. Yacht masts on the Niagara River
pass in the middle distance, heading north
for Lake Ontario and Sunday afternoon
sailing sessions. A cannon fires at Old Fort
Niagara, sends reports echoing through
the town, across international waters,
reenacts a fragment of border wars.
Nathanael O’Reilly is an Irish-Australian poet residing in Texas. His books include Boulevard (Beir Bua Press, 2021); (Un)belonging (Recent Work Press, 2020); BLUE (above/ground press, 2020); Preparations for Departure (UWAP, 2017); Distance (Ginninderra Press, 2015); Suburban Exile (Picaro Press, 2011); and Symptoms of Homesickness (Picaro Press, 2010). His poetry has appeared in journals & anthologies published in fourteen countries, including Anthropocene, Cordite Poetry Review, The Elevation Review, fourW, In Parentheses: New Modernisms, Mascara Literary Review, The Quarantine Review, Skylight 47 and Westerly. He is the poetry editor for Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature.