Dark Matter – New Poetry by Dion O’Reilly

Joint Winner of the Letter Review Prize for Poetry

We see so little of the world, a mere corner,
they say, though today, nothing seems scanty—
the oaks around the meadow, full of spiked leaves and fear-

ful band-tails, life’s matrix pulsing every nerve—it’s more
than more: it’s a slow explosion, even if its plenty
is mere sliver next to the dark ether

that sticks the planets, the stars, even our charged
cells to its vision board. It hurts me—
this seen beauty, the gleaming outsides of the world.

I don’t know why, but inside every spring, a memory—
some lost boy, the blooming weed he picked me,
his warm hands, the longing and pleasure.

I know gratitude is popular, is inclined to go viral,
but it’s whack-a-mole, this old need inside me,
so when I hear dark matter—how I desire

dark, how I yearn for matter
that intriguing reversal of uncertainty
into mass and import—

even in my golden-years-
garden— meant to uplift me—it’s shadow I seek,
the wormy layer, always there, year after year, closer

and closer—nameless god, forgotten father, limbic odor
of mystery,
its source, almost remembered, familiar,

beyond my reach.

Dion O’Reilly’s debut collection, Ghost Dogs, was runner-up for The Catamaran Prize and shortlisted for The Eric Hoffer Award. Her second book Sadness of the Apex Predator will be published by University of Wisconsin’s Cornerstone Press in 2024. Her work appears in New Ohio Review, The Sun, Rattle, Narrative, The Slowdown, and elsewhere. She facilitates private workshops, hosts a podcast at The Hive Poetry Collective, and is a reader for Catamaran Literary Quarterly. She splits her time between a ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains and a residence in Bellingham, Washington.

Original Artwork Supplied by Art Director Kita Das