Tom Sheehan ~ A Bottle Descending

can-o-bisAmber and empty,
the bottle on the table
escapes with evening.
An economy of light,
hardly daring itself,
fragile to a lime
precedent, assumes
a remnant name.

Sundown seeks
initiatives and separates
elements, a slow folding
away taking place as if
I were in two rooms.
Perhaps the rainbow
in my eye is the one
I stole from it.

When sundown leaves
the core of glass,
when it sneaks off
on soft paws, playful
yet enterprising,
pulling pink and purple
with it, a prisoner
slipping between bars,

over walls, I hold
to some of it, here,
where the word of it sits
parsed out of the glass,
a pastel verb sitting still,
not breathing, formless,
a fragment of star’s breath
fallen down the sky to my

table entering night.
And night accepts
the bottle, wraps it in
like a mother takes
her child to arms.
Darkness comes still,
pink but a memory,
purple cut as well,

and flattens to nothing,
to a shapeless idea.
The light that flamed
on the curve of glass,
the red of everything
of day, leaves nothing,
no horizon at all, the bare
minimum of memory,
a scar across the retina.


Tom Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry, Korea 1951-52, and graduated Boston College in 1956. His books are Epic Cures; Brief Cases, Short Spans; Collection of Friends; From the Quickening; The Saugus Book; Ah, Devon Unbowed; Reflections from Vinegar Hill; This Rare Earth & Other Flights, and Vigilantes East.  eBooks include Korean Echoes (nominated for a Distinguished Military Award), The Westering, (nominated for National Book Award); from Hammer & Anvil Books are The Harry Krisman Mysteries ~ Murder at the Forum (an NHL mystery), Death of a Lottery Foe, Death by Punishment, and An Accountable Death. Co-editor of A Gathering of Memories, and Of Time and the River, two collections about our home town of Saugus, Massachusetts, both 400+ pages, 4500 copies sold, all proceeds from $40.00 each cost destined for a memorial scholarship for co-editor, John Burns, in the Saugus School system as director of the English Department at the High School for 45 years. After conception of the idea for the books, and John putting out the word for material to be included by former students, and with a proposal of actions and schedules prepared for a local bank, ten of his former students signed a loan for $60,000 to print two books not yet written!
Tom also has work in Ocean Magazine, Rosebud, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Eclectica, Copperfield Review, KYSO Flash, La Joie Magazine, Soundings East, Vermont Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Indiana Voices Journal, Frontier Tales, Western Online Magazine, Provo Canyon Review, 3 AM Magazine, Vine Leaves Journal, Nazar Look, Eastlit, Rope & Wire Magazine, The Literary Yard, KYSO Journal, Green Silk Journal, Fiction on the Web, The Path, Faith-Hope and Fiction, The Cenacle, etc. In the Garden of Long Shadows and The Nations (2014), and Where Skies Grow Wide (2015) published by Pocol Press, and Six Guns, Inc., 2015, by Nazar Look in Romania, as a surprise 87th birthday present, print copy as well as an eBook. Some reviews may be found on Serving House Journal. He has 28 Pushcart nominations, and several Best of the Net and other awards, two best of the Net selections coming from separate publishers this month.
In addition, a new collection, Sons of Guns, Inc. was released earlier this year as a surprise birthday present (print and eBook) by Nazar Look Books in Romania (which awarded him The Nazar Look Short Story Award for 2012 and 2014.) Two new collections have been proposed to publishers; Fables, Fairy Stories, Folk Lore and Fantasies and Back Home in Saugus, 90,000 words, 200 pages of fiction, CNF and poetry.
Tom is the author of Jehrico ~ Eleven Stories of a Mexican Boy Making His Way in the Old West {Hammer & Anvil Books 2016} now available exclusively on
Tom Sheehan is Danse Macabre’s first Writer-in-Residence, whose fine storytelling eye, rich poetic voice, and indefatigable industry symbolize the best work found in both DM and DM du Jour. Our heartfelt thanks to Tom for sharing so much of his imagination – and heart – with the Macabrely!


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