Jettison · Tom Daley

At Renée’s house, the quarter moon,
balanced on its bottom,
scorches the skylights, ruffles

the polished hardwood floor
with strafing shadows. Back
on Hayes Street, we have jettisoned

your false teeth, the bottom
set punctured to fit your
two remaining true. We have

found post cards from a French
lover, a confusion
of bank statements, dried

rosemary sprigs, buffalo nickels,
our father’s dog tags. There,
in your closet, hung the frayed

residue of moths eating
the crumbs of your Harris Tweed
sleeves. There was the family

of shoes, each pair a mother
and a father who could never
really know the meaning

of a synchronized gait.
In trash bags as voluminous
as moonlight over Yosemite,

we bid a hearty goodbye
to your soiled linens,
to the metal caps of champagne

corks from every party
where you played the life of it,
where you spurred your ache

to banter and bravado,
where everyone circled
your grin while you convinced

yourself that your soul’s woeful and dismal
were merely a backdrop against which
you might shuffle and shine.


Tom Daley’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in North American Review, Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, 32 Poems, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Poetry Ireland Review, and elsewhere. Recipient of the Dana Award in Poetry and the Charles and Fanny Fay Wood Prize from the Academy of American Poets, he is the author of two plays, Every Broom and Bridget – Emily Dickinson and Her Irish Servants and In His Ecstasy – The Passion of Gerard Manley Hopkins, which he performs as one-man shows. FutureCycle Press published his first-full length collection of poetry, House You Cannot Reach – Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems, in the summer of 2015. He leads writing workshops in the Boston area and online for poets and writers working in creative prose.