Emily O'Neill


when I wait up half the night for you

say thirst is a cursed word & I’m milking

time it takes to drift past each other / you don’t call

but it can’t matter / I’ve gone off recipe

best ham in the world fed on acorns / pigs kept

on whey will taste of cheese / geese staying because they’re safe

make foie gras more lemongrass than fear / man

prone in a field wings sliding over his jaw / who am I tasting of dark

chocolate, coconut / Balvenie 14 Caribbean cask / or dry, sharp

junmai spread on my tongue / have I fished today

have I wiped off my lipstick because of what’s in the wax / always willing

until it hurts / if I bleed / if I shudder / am I looking

for someone / you said wouldn’t it be funny

if bartenders had to kiss a drinker & guess

what’s in their glass / holiday mother’s punch: 2 cups

vodka, apricot brandy, bottle of chardonnay, of ginger ale / anything

better than bottom shelf can cut it / tell me about my teeth / no fillings

no difference / is it weasel or stoat or mink or a rat that I mean / aren’t

all low things just soft cousins / your eyelashes, Valentino idols inked in gouache


EMILY O'NEILL is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her recent poems and stories can be found in The Journal, Redivider, and Washington Square, among others. Her debut collection, Pelican, is the inaugural winner of YesYes Books' Pamet River Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks: Celeris (Fog Machine, 2016) and You Can't Pick Your Genre (Jellyfish Highway, 2016). She teaches writing at the Boston Center for Adult Education and edits poetry for Wyvern Lit.