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Tuesday, July 08, 2008


by Susan Roney-O’Brien

Pot-bound, the plant wants dividing.
I dump it out, try to pull snarled roots apart.

At first, people I’d never met were dying, mouths
packed with sand. Osama had resurfaced.

If, finally we cut him down, I thought,
cells will divide, regroup, swell again

like those within my co-worker’s body
that rounded out her belly like a child
split, then balled to kill her.

I cut the root ball into sections,
seat each cutting, tuck them in with earth.

Yesterday the boy next door came home in a box.
His flag-draped coffin filled the undertaker’s hall.

I place the repotted spiders on the windowsill
and hope they will survive.

Susan Roney-O’Brien teaches, reads for The Worcester Review and writes. Her work has appeared in Yankee, Prairie Schooner, Diner, Concrete Wolf, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, Margin, Rock and Sling and other magazines. She has won the Worcester County Poetry Association Contest, the William and Kingman Page Poetry Book Award for her chapbook, Farmwife, and the New England Association of Teachers of English “Poet of the Year” award.