June 10, 1945 — February 23, 2019  Saint Joseph’s New Roman Catholic Cemetery  Bausman, Pennsylvania

June 10, 1945 — February 23, 2019

Saint Joseph’s New Roman Catholic Cemetery

Bausman, Pennsylvania

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.

Halo

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.

Presence 2019

Rileypainting.jpg

painted by Terri Bright