Ed O' Casey

Clutching the Ceiling

Ed O'Casey


Your lawyer suggested I find a bar,

and spend days in the fog.

I stumbled, off-

balance, from his office, imagined a tomorrow

in which I would hand over my keys

and the scent of her room.


I couldn’t fathom the elevator

so I echoed my way down the stairs—

I found myself unable to turn,

to continue down. I shut my eyes

and walked through a 30 painted on the wall,

through inches of concrete, insulation, wiring—

through a steel girder and a family of rats—

out into city air.


I briefly remembered I’d left

my wallet in our daughter’s room,

as I plummeted through smog

and 30 stories of gravity.

I caught my reflection in the passing windows,

and wondered if it was all right to fall asleep here.


On the ground, near the cave’s entrance,

a dead bat, spotted white with fungus,

clutched it to my chest, curling myself

as far into myself as possible—

how I felt the first time I met her.


She knew only to shut her eyes,

flex her slender hands, listen

for the sound of her own voice.


Your Evening Commute

Ed O'Casey


In the midst of your global warming talk

the fog rolled in, the air dampened, a sheen

on all the fixtures in our living room.

I was doing my best to ignore you, reading the headlines

that concern us most: Paris Hilton’s venereal diseases,


the rapists in Forney. Words on the other side of the page

bled through the photo of that undernourished face.

The page dissolved; only Paris and the reversed text

remained, floating between my hands. I turned

from the cloud of gibberish, found the remote

in the mist, and pointed it to where


I remembered the TV lies. Instead of the eight o’clock

forecast, a few sparks in the distance,

a television drowning in the watery air. Then the deluge.



You had shifted from carbon dioxide to vast

islands of plastic that float unchecked

through the oceans.


Thunder called from near the garage.

The ceiling fan wilted, its blades overtaxed,

sagged almost to the floor. We upended the couch

for shelter so we could hang our clothes to dry,


but it wasn’t until naked that you seemed to realize

that glaciers had sped across continents

to fall on your grandfather’s old rocker,

on our favorite couch:


the one with the two depressions in it,

so close that they might be making love.

I ogled your wet breasts until, giggling,

you took me by the hand, led me into the downpour,

splashed me with water from the fireplace.


Red-Crowned Amazon

Ed O'Casey


We wake into our empty, now unfamiliar home.

Where is the stomp of the child?

The feral human, her instinct?


The living room smaller this morning, the furniture

sprouting wooden and plastic roots into the carpet,

collecting itself against relocation,


the ceiling slightly lower, I notice, the light fixtures

at eye level. Once we could maneuver through

the kitchen, frying the last of your eggs,


now your brush against my arm is as invasive as

the grease burns on my wrists. This was a house

when we bought it, but bricks and glass


continue to fold off into the neighbors’ yards,

the street:


         yesterday, the dank TV nook—

         this weekend, the third of the living

         room where you like to read.



For the first time in years, we’ll crumple onto the bed

together in a heap because we’ll lack the room to roll

without hitting the walls, enclosed like two


stacked loads of laundry. In a month we’ll wake into this

telephone booth without the space to spread our arms

or parrot each other’s speech.


They’ve moved me into a bigger office at work.

I have a view of the park as it dissipates, becomes

more street, loses its grasp on a girl and a dog

playing with the corpses of birds.


Ed O’Casey received his MA from the University of North Texas. He loves all things narcissistic, and lives with his unruly wife and daughter. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in Cold Mountain Review, Tulane Review, Oak Bend Review, Euphony, Mayo Review, Poetry Quarterly, NANO Fiction, and West Trade Review. He is currently an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University.

Posted on July 7, 2014 .