Tom Daley


Saltcellar misfortune
and indignation of cloves
and eucalyptus.

The dormant wildflowers
spry and resurgent
now that the Pacific storms

have cancelled
the California drought.
Will you revive

from your prone
position too, and bless
the cliffs

with your grasshopper
dander, your mantras
subtle as crickets,

your tongue tucking
in the philosophy
of the windmill pump?

We have stiffened our calves
over the fault lines,
the over-quiet plates

that ought by now
to have rubbled
all the fennel

and the yellow brick
you sniffed out
in your calamity.

No one has seen you,
at sunset, walk into the drowning
acres of the bay,

damp with your button-
down flannel
and your fly-button jeans

brewing the tiny
burdens of solitude
and the stirred-down weather.

The Turnaround

I plead before I investigate,
indict before I scandalize.

Rooted in fraud, I brazen.
I unseal the sad days.

Now these. Now early.
Now east by drizzle.

Now subpoena by chill.
Impact—a lightfooted

species of scheme.
All my fingers

resurfaced and rigged.
My high dunes hold back

the rescue. I swear
and deduct, skip my doses,

my turmeric and calcium.
The sun exonerates

but doesn’t legalize.
It indicates

its weight. It absolves
the turnaround of revenge.

After the Fallout

keeps its
in pattern
in echo
There are
three waves
to any
katydid three
to any
three knees
to any

Tom Daley was a machinist for over two decades. His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, 32 Poems, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Poetry Ireland Review, and elsewhere.
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