Brian Foley

A man with a light
Flushes the alley of mice

Light like a gimlet
Into the night

As if everything could exist
In a clear pane of glass

Some cruel benediction
In blooming detail

Takes the shadow
Without spilling a drop

And shows what really stands
In your place when you leave

Poor Reception

A hammer in the night
Like wind in the tops of trees
Pulp in the veins of sleep

Valves turned down
And dreaming backwards
A hammer in the night

How long will they build
The head at the bottom
Of their infinite totem pole

No hands to fill the hours
Only some enormous ears
To adopt a cosmology of insects

In Real Life

The night shares a bed with you
Rolls over on top of your good arm
Tremors like storms gathering
fat in his throat

You cannot kick him out of the bed
Like a father he sleeps inside the lines
Your whole family is there trying not
to wake him


A morning fought and fought
To not be seen as too fragile
As to snap under the weight
Of our gradual expectations
Like a stained glass window
Depicting the pitch of night.

You are like that too sometimes
Licking your fur that has fallen
Bearing your teeth that have grown
As round and useless as stones
Beaten by a century of waves.

Brian Foley has poems forthcoming in Sixth Finch, LIT, The Raleigh Quarterly, Strange Machine, Puerto Del Sol, Keyhole and Anti. He’s the author of a chapbook The Tornado is not a Surrealist (Greying Ghost Press, 2008). He edits the online schism, SIR! (, is poetry editor of Brave Men Press (, and runs The Deep Moat Reading Series ( in Cambridge, MA. He lives in Boston and plans to attend UMass Amherst in the fall for an M.F.A. He never had a front porch, only a deck in the back to keep an eye on the woods and what crept out of it.