Michael D. Riley published six collections of poetry, most recently, Ordinary Time: Poems for the Liturgical Year (2016). Pattern Evidence is forthcoming with Wipf & Stock. His poems appeared in many periodicals, including Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, Rattle, America, and Southern Humanities Review; and in two recent anthologies, Irish American Poetry From the Eighteenth Century to the Present and Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust. He was Emeritus Professor of English from Penn State University and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Mine weathered badly.
Base metal dulls through all round
the thinnest of plating--no more than
a warm breath of gold against a cold window.
Chinks, scrapes, ferrules:
the thing weeps without a sound.
I never graduated to the hovering trick,
but the coat-hanger hook
that once kept it a respectful
three inches over my head, is long gone,
so it snugs my hairline just below
my natural tonsure. You would hardly
believe the weight of it by the end
of the day. It's like a perfect thought--
round, complete, sufficient--
become a manacle. I don't mean
to complain. After all, eternity is long
and here it is Tuesday already.
I have time, they all say smiling.
And tonight at vespers, such lovely singing.
painted by Terri Bright