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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Poem: 148 words
By Dion O’Reilly

Red Truck


He was small for four years old. 
Bitten up from the orphanage. 
Scratches on his face. 

I didn’t want him. Surprise 
little brother in the car 
when I walked out of high school 

on a hot day. One tiny hand 
smearing marks on the fancy 
wood of the Mercedes dash. 
The other pressed in the gold 
cowhide of the front seat. 

He leaned toward me, 
said Hello Dion. He’d practiced 
all the way from San Francisco 
where he was bought 
from some downtown lawyer 
for the price of a new Toyota 
after the state agency refused. 

My father sat in back, shoes off, 
peeling dead skin off his feet, 
mumbling a worn-out argument. 

My mother with parlor hair. 
Aquamarine eyes. Smell of 
Yardley Violets and antiperspirant. 
What could I say? He was there 
to save them. He clutched 
a small red truck. He knew my name.


Dion O’Reilly’s
Issue 5, October 2020

first book, Ghost Dogs, was published in February 2020 by Terrapin Books. Her work appears in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Narrative, The New Ohio Review, The Massachusetts Review, New Letters, Sugar House Review, Rattle, The Sun, and other literary journals and anthologies. Her poetry has been nominated for several Pushcarts and shortlisted for a variety of prizes. She is a member of The Hive Poetry Collective, which produces podcasts and events, and she facilitates ongoing workshops in an artsy farmhouse in the Santa Cruz Mountains—now on Zoom.

Author’s website: https://dionoreilly.wordpress.com

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