Anthony Poem by Seamus O' Brian


Rating: 5.0

The slow-motion hum of the bus terminal,
the lingered drifting and buzz of the hive
envelopes us with dieseled air-conditioning.

As is his wont, and with the unspoken understanding
that befits an adult who has been harnessed
life-long to the role of passenger, Anthony
shuffles past the cashier, directly to a bench
and settles the gym bag that plays the part
of his luggage delicately next to him,
precisely equi-distant from the grease-darkened
fast-food bags and the partially diminished grime
of the tiled bus terminal walls.

I, on the other hand, as befits my role,
wordlessly approached the nexus
where financial transactions occur.

"Yeah, just one way."

"Oh, there's a fee for the bag, too? "

I look back, but Anthony's eyes
are evidently captivated by the soundless
Jerry Springer episode unfolding
on the monitor above.

"Ok, let's do that, too, then, "
And I repeat the familiar motion
of reaching for my wallet.

Immersed in the slow-motion tumble
of the drones who buzz from one Greyhound
terminal to another, month after month,
year after year, the flotsam of life
spilling up on shore after shore,
Anthony and I sit still and wordless,
our silences pressing against the
unspoken lies that measure the distance between us.

"I want to thank you for everything."

A tilt of my head will have to suffice
for a nod that belies my failure
to understand dishonest gratitude.

"Thanks to you guys, I think I'm
gonna make it this time.I'm gonna
stay clean."

I wish I could believe
you're clean right now,
but you're not.

I've measured the span of your honesty
in the quiet treason of your pupils,
gauged the amplitude of my trust
in the tremoring intervals of your hands,
checked the committing of my heart
against the occasional slur of your speech,

And I can give no more.
Not even the hope
that you believe your own lies.

With the whoosh of air brakes
the hive is set astir, and signals
the time for Anthony to take
up his gym bag with far more care
than is warranted for the particles
of life panned in the current that flows
from one half-way house to the next.

An awkward hug precedes the necessary
lies from either side that we will
stay in touch.

And Anthony is gone.

A crippled wing and a busted mind,
another rogue bee in search of a hive.

But life itself is a journey,
and I have learned
that fate is stronger than hope.

I just prefer to call it grace.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Topic(s) of this poem: addiction,life,mental illness
tom billsborough 13 March 2018

Some lives are impossible to untangle and constant relapses are so familiar. This is a most interesting piece of writing told with subtlety and restraint.

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Muzahidul Reza 09 March 2018

A wonderful tale is excellently told here in this poem with some well emotion and sentiment, thanks for sharing the poem with us,10

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Seamus O Brian 09 March 2018

Thank you, kind sir, for your gracious thoughts, and for taking the time to read this piece. I am honored.

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