Susan Roney-O’Brien

Susan Roney-O’Brien

Susan Roney-O’Brien lives in Princeton, MA, works with international students and young writers, curates a monthly poetry venue, and is part of 4 X 4, a group of visual artists and poets. She is the Summer Writing Series Coordinator for The Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home. Her poetry has been published widely and translated into Braille and Mandarin and been nominated for seven Pushcart Prizes. Publications include two chapbooks: Farmwife, the winner of the William and Kingman Page Poetry Book Award, and Earth published by Cat Rock Press. WordTech published Legacy of the Last World in 2016. Aldrich Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books, published Bone Circle, in December 2018. Kelsay Books will publish Thira, a new collection based on ancient Minoan culture, in March, 2020.

Olive Tree

The womb of the moon is the olive tree;
leaves enfold its slender slip.
Moon glides among limbs and
still blind, feels its way
out of darkness.


The hand of love is upon my son
whose father vanished in water and wind.

Full moon tidefall pulls black sand back,
strews kelp along flats

where he pulled in fish, where I fill
spaces between what he and I had intended

and what has come to be—story and song
instead of his strong hand leading

our son into manhood. Oh for one caress
of his palm against my cheek.

In Yellow Light

Flung along the shore after storm,
an octopus like a leaf lay,
a soft-bodied shadow—arms spread—
a waste of life and food and beauty.

I paint the sea that begins in me,
onto amphorae, onto beaked jars,
capture color and line, green weed water
floods buff sides,

eight flowing arms like vines
reach and twine upon the surface,
overspreading. Octopus
rises, swims again.

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Poetry in this post: © Susan Roney-O’Brien
Published with the permission of Susan Roney-O’Brien