Sean Mahoney

Drift with Hayden

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Allegro assai

Mezcal by the Mendocino River. Imprimatur of debris
cussing the swell. Notes sliding from the staff never
more seen in dry sand.

Afternoon pulsed along; a farewell symphony.
Evening rolled in and rose over banks, forcing them
down into water. Away ache and causative moment.


Movement south suspended; an augmented seventh.
Old world empty. The sheet rolled inside a bottle
waiting out its rest for an instrument that never plucks
nor strikes.

Pierced hull. Water. Music. Resolution into swirl
of epic maelstrom.

Menuet: Allegretto

Uprooted: a wandering man parsed as mad intervals.
Notes that steady lines and fill clefs. Dusty
juxtaposition and the youth of sorrow.

Found: the space between rests. Comforting. Wordless.

Finale: Presto

Mezcal dribbles down torsos, through groins
and into the Salinas River. Disappears
as the affairs. Affairs of melody and structure.
Leitmotif bound in a shower of confessions.

Recurrent drama. Relocation. Negation of theme.
Events not unfolding willfully. Notation leaps
from the staff:

I pull you close and taste your breath – 30 years of your
sour breath – bust your skull with the bottle and dislocate
the colorful label; the man, the woman, the ass, the red
blanket. Thrust of shattering glass against your head evokes
cymbals and brass. Figment you are now known only by
the splash where you fell and bits of glass on your chest
resting just above and dropping again below water.
You are left bleeding into shallow drift; you mingle
with fluvial lift and drag. You will be dispensed
to thousands with eyes set much deeper than yours,
truths darker than yours, darker than waters moving
south and effects yet to come. Our blood stilled. Blare of
suspense after the sun, ducking behind the Coastal Range,
has been left a step behind the meter.

The river will concert in new themes and lights
but you will not be a part of that. Not today.
Today you will lose fluids; key unknown.


Sean J. Mahoney lives with his wife, her parents, two Uglydolls, and three dogs in Santa Ana, California. He works in geophysics. He believes that punk rock miraculously survives, that Judas was a way better singer than Jesus, and that diatomaceous earth is a not well known enough gardening marvel. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Breath and Shadow, SharkPack Poetry Review, Wordgathering, Tethered by Letters, Pentimento, Catamaran Literary Reader, and MiPoesias, among others.