Tom Sheehan ~ Dimensions of Reflective Midnight

It is more than geography hugging me, but what deliciousness in the wind in January, trees stripped to the rawest dimensions, oh bare bark that’s borne. On edges of this electric road, crows by dozens the only intruders in full dress shadows, a three-day-old snow crusting to gray, three marvelous, mysterious wires hanging as if they knot ships together at low tide, weighted with more than a sense of ice, sing a song through the keen teeth of a day going down to its knees in her perfection. Absolve me, love. The song is in your mouth, the notes are mine.

The song is wolfish, high pitched, remnant at odds in the pack. Roadside strands, thick as old hawsers, carrying theater lights, marquees alphabet-bright in upper case, library lamps under which notes are passed, the grocer’s late display behind a six-foot window, fire alarms and call boxes with blue lights like taillights of a ’51 Ford, carry on how divas do derring-do, octave and platform above all else. The song is in your mouth, the notes are mine.

Are they heard downhill, flat side, down where this strange road ends, or begins, a dynamo bellied into earth the way a bear buries in all winter, this old man writing a journal just past his latest midnight? These songs you sing, these notes of mine not for grocers or ticket takers or lovers embattled by scented, pressing time. Even bears are spared this wizardry, of songs the wind owns at lips of wires, arias heaved offstage from spider webs slung between Erector-set steel skeletons like lapsed and forgotten messages along the road, or compliments remembered in the quiet hours between places lit up with odors. Thin-mil songs, wired notes stretched out in steel and nervous alloys, high-minded and high winded, humming the universe and music of the sphere, falsetto, bird level, dog-sharpened, that transcend all known insulation technicalities.

Now and then, orchestrated dull and basso cantante, a tower vibrates, threatens to topple, its wired voices plunging roots, deep footings, where trees empty their emptiness. The last sound made, the ultimatum investing lolling cables, is unheard, lovely notes lost in endless voids of mind. The song is in your mouth, the notes I lose.

I walk here between songs, watching rabbits, sleek on snow, whitened for the last resort, paddle-footed, snow-shoed for their abrupt run at living, alerted of a hawk tasting them from thermal undertakings, ready for the noisy adjectives, wires spill overboard, seeing a fork in front of me, seeking the song in your mouth, the high notes.


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 He has published 28 books, which include the western collections The NationsWhere Skies Grow Wide and Cross Trails published by Pocol Press, and Six Guns, Inc., by Nazar Look and three titles issued in 2016, The Cowboys, Swan River Daisy and Jehrico. He has multiple work in following publications: Rosebud, Literally Stories, DM du Jour, Danse Macabre, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Eclectica, Copperfield Review, La Joie Magazine, Soundings East, Vermont Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Indiana Voices Journal, Frontier Tales, Western Online Magazine, Provo Canyon Review, Vine Leaves Journal, Nazar Look, Eastlit, Rope & Wire Magazine, The Literary Yard, Green Silk Journal, Fiction on the Web, The Path, Faith-Hope and Fiction, The Cenacle, etc.

He has 30 Pushcart nominations, and five Best of the Net nominations (and one winner) and short story awards from Nazar Look for 2012- 2015, and a Georges Simenon Fiction Award. He was Danse Macabre’s 2016 Writer-in-Residence.

The latest Harry Krisman Mystery Vigilantes East is now available exclusively on His poetry collection, To Athens from Third Base, is forthcoming in 2017 from Hammer & Anvil Books.

Read more of Tom’s classic American storytelling in
DM 107 ~ Saugus, a, um
Found in the Archiv


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