The Journey Home

She tells me her pain is a squall,
sudden and vicious, like a flash

storm whipping in from Bass Strait
to batter King Island.
Do you remember our Island, Garth?

Her doctors build shelters; nurses
batten hatches, but this tempest

won’t blow over. She says her pain is a vulture now,
circling the desert on threadbare wings.
A glass of water if you please, Garth?

With beak and claw, it slashes and rips
nerve endings, drinks color from her eyes.

The pain is no longer squall or vulture,
she whispers, but a flutter of pages.
One last story before bed, dear Garth?

I don’t tell her that I’m her grandson—
not her brother Garth, stolen by war.

She’s a thin sheet stretched over an empty
bed; a gull’s cry on the wind.

– Ryan Stone

first published by Eunoia Review, June 2019

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Tōrō Nagashi

Your flame flickers briefly—
a parting whisper.
Some trick of the river
mimics your laughter.

We stand apart at sunset,
lost in natsukashii,
come together in darkness,
to watch the dead pass on.

Your light has fallen now
to shadow
beneath the bridge.

Ryan Stone

First published on Napalm and Novocain, January 2016

Published at Poetry Nook, October 2018, Nominated for 2018 Pushcart Prize

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Dog Days

There’s a lot going on in the world
today. My TV stays off
for morning’s sake.

Another plane. Child. Innocent.
Betrayal. And that flag hanging
over it all.

I almost feel guilty when sorrow engulfs me.
How does an old paw print
eclipse any of that?

But my sphere spins slowly, the breeze
carries ghosts, familiar barks—
a smell of wet coats.

Ryan Stone

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Stillborn published in Red River Review

I’m so happy to see my poem, Stillborn, published alongside some truly excellent writing in the August edition of Red River Review.

Please have a look if you have some time, there is some really great poetry this month. Click on the August 2017 link at the top of the page – Red River Review

Friday afternoon has just rolled in to Melbourne, Australia – I wish you all a wonderful weekend when it makes it to your individual part of the world.

RS

The first time I saw her naked

I blushed, despite imagining her often
unclothed — long caramel legs
arabesque honed, perhaps a soft tuft
to cover their tryst. I’d dreamt
creamy breasts with rose petal tips
that would stiffen and rise
in the moonlight.
The first time I saw her naked,
I stood with her mother —
the woman who bore her,
and the boy who adored her,
alone with death in the room.

Ryan Stone

Irish Fire

My grandmother called it
Irish fire, said it raged
through my father
hotter than Beli Mawr’s bum.
She was long dead
when it finally flared
fiercer than he could contain.
The embers of his eyes
scorched childhood’s
last leaves to ash,
left them smoldering.

Ryan Stone

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