Susan Roney-O’Brien



Night creature, like the guy in the bar—
leather jacket, black pointed boots,
sloshed, body slouched against
the grease-stained wall, but willing,
oh my god, to follow me home,
too drunk to know what he came for
except to say, you know you’re meant
to love me.

When I laughed and locked him out,
he sat on the stoop in the rain
away from the streetlight. Leaves
from the only tree on the street
found him. I said I’d call the cops,
he crawled off covered in leaf litter.

Earwigs here hang out under leaf mulch
in the dark and rain. They clump together
where the sump pump drains cellar water
into the daffodil bed.

My son dubbed them beer weasels
after finding one in a bottle by the side
of our road. The bugs never breached
his eardrum despite their name
and I’ve almost stopped wondering
what the bar boy meant when he said
what he said about love.

Susan Roney-O’Brien earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College and has published two chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections. Nominated for numerous Pushcart Prizes and published widely, she is Vice President of programming for Worcester County Poetry Association, curates a monthly poetry venue, facilitates poetry workshops in area libraries, and is a member of 4X4, a poet/artist collaborative.