Tom Sheehan ~ Burgundy for a Phantom Trout

Light failing us, my son
and I had cheated sleep
and the mother of dawns,
that four-ish slattern
teasing before daylight,
flushing the sky a pale
and silvered tinting
the underside of trout
reflects when turned over
at spitting a barbed hook.
We egged down in the dark,
toasted our gurgling guts,
coffeed and milked ourselves
to last until noon stood
like a flag on high branch.

Rising in the false darkness
I call false light, I saw my son
Matthew as half boy and half
an extension of man. The truth
of his erection was a piss call,
and mine was for his mother
a hundred miles away twisted
in an agony of sheets, one hip
like a mountain one has hardly
ever climbed, a private shock
of darkness where he and I first
exchanged the knowledge of son
and father, a softness my mind
can conjure up against scant
fingertips that go feeling her up
in the back of my mind like I am
writing a play about her seduction.

At twenty days into this life
he knew the elegance the knife has
in the hands of a surgeon and throws
that forgetfulness out against those
who remember a dark Sunday noon
in September of Nineteen-seventy-four.
His destiny has been here. His brothers
know that, hear it beating low as drums
in their minds while he pretends fishing
for the burgundy trout is all that counts
at dawn, the river giving up daylight
that’s been hidden in a lost mirror.


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Tom Sheehan has published three poetry books: “Ah, Devon Unbowed”; “The Saugus Book”; and “Reflections from Vinegar Hill.” He is Co-editor of the sold-out 2,000 copy issue of “A Gathering of Memories, Saugus 1900 – 2000,” for which $60,000 was borrowed for printing and paid off four weeks after books were received from the printer.

Tom 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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