but you have to find them,
a teacher told my class long ago.
I was a kid sitting at a desk,
cowlicks sprouting from my scalp,
no laptops available then, just paper
and a No. 2 pencil, sharply pointed.
I didn’t know what poetry was but I
had to find out. It might be on the test.
Many decades later I understand
what she meant. I still don't know
what poetry is but like pornography
I know it when I see it. I wish she had
come with me to places in my life
where I found poems hiding, in old
elevators stalled in housing projects
and on benches waiting for a bus
to go back home to sleep before
having to wait for a bus again.
There are indeed poems everywhere,
as my teacher said, and anyone
can find them anywhere if they look.
It’s nice to find them in a garden
or on a mountain top on a sunny day
but sometimes a poem appears when
you take the garbage out at night
and you see one sleeping in the alley.
Poems are everywhere and sometimes
one of them will break your heart.
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had poetry and fiction published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in or accepted by The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), Gloom Cupboard (U.K.), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Black-Listed Magazine, Opium 2.0, Calliope Nerve, Haggard and Halloo, Rusty Truck, Pirene’s Fountain (Australia) and other publications.