“5am Departure” by Noreen Hennessy

“And I couldn’t escape the waking dream.” –Simon Armitage

Clouds billowing, gathering strength
in a sky ready to
split lightning
spill smoke from its mouth
a creased cheek crushing a pillow
buried there in numb bliss
legs entwined swaddled in sheets warmed
by their bodies’ devotion
to this cradle of comfort they share
holding them as they succumb to
the quiet communion of their dreams
a belly curved into a cave of heat
Lips released open
breathing out the last sigh
of sleep

In a half-moon lit hallway
quick purposeful as a cat’s
dirt ash soot flies at the window
angry unforgiving
burrows inside
arrives on the window sill
in the heel of a sneaker
amidst last night’s bath
towels still damp
on the floor
with dropped toys
clothes scattered
beginning to smolder
the muffled cry of the baby
the quickness of his mother’s eyes
searching the air
streaked with smoke
her lips forming the question
to which she already knows the answer

the scent and muscle of
outstretched arms
skin upon skin
seen now in
scraps of daylight
the heaviness of her
child’s sleeping head drooping
against her wildly beating heart
her blood spiked with panic
then resolve
a world enclosed
in her arms
her lips touch his brow his lips
this small body still
pressed to her belly’s warmth
coupled together
strapped to her ribs

Ribbons of rain
flecked with fire
drench the window
as it opens
to cinders of sycamore leaves
flaming needles of white pine
whistling by furiously singing like
the notes of a cello’s strings
pulling mother and child
out onto the wind
to ride its strength
and set them

Beyond the fire’s turbulence
Beyond their shared tears
as the sheer curtain burns in their memory.

Noreen Hennessy is new to poetry. She has given readings of her writing at Beyond Baroque Literary Foundation and at the 92nd St Y. Recently, one of her poems has been published online by Literary North.  She has been studying poetry in community workshops this past year at UVM and Dartmouth College. She lives in southern Vermont with her husband and son.

3 thoughts on ““5am Departure” by Noreen Hennessy

  1. Dear Randal,

    Once again, I want to tell you, how much I appreciate your publishing my poems, your support and generosity in doing this means so much to me. I have now read “Memoirs of Witness Tree” and I enjoyed reading it, very, very much. There is great heart, a clear eye and a pure, simple truth running throughout all of your poems, that’s striking and touching. And I look forward to reading more in the future.

    Best Wishes,



    Liked by 2 people

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