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Mary Rose O'Reilley
Mary Rose O'Reilley
The author of a collection of poetry and several works of non-fiction, Mary Rose O'Reilley was the recipient of the 2005 Walt Whitman Award...
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Speaking In Tongues

 
by Mary Rose O'Reilley

I go to church every Sunday
though I donít believe a word of it,
because the longing for God
is a prayer said in the bones.

When people call on Jesus
I move to a place in the body
where such words rise,
one of the valleys
where hope pins itself to desire;
we have so much landscape like that
youíd think we were made 
to sustain a cry.

When the old men around me
lift their hands
as though someone has cornered them,
giving it all away,
I remember a dock on the estuary,
watching a heron get airborne against the odds.
Itís the transitional moment that baffles me—
how she composes her rickety
grocery cart of a body
to make that flight.

The pine siskin, stalled on a windy coast,
remembers the woods
she will long for when needs arise; so
the boreal forest composes itself in my mind:
first as a rift, absence, 
then in a tumble of words
undone from sense, like the stutter
you hear  when somebody falls
over the cliff of language.  Call it a gift.



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