Ryan Quinn Flanagan: Poetry (Western Voices 2021)

Bio: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Setu, The Blue Mountain Review, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review


Wish Fountain


The fountain in the mall was littered with coins.

A wish fountain surrounded by sharply dressed

window mannequins.


Always with large red sale tags.

They always seemed to be on sale.


I sat on the side ledge of the fountain as my mother went in shopping.

Closing my eyes and listening to the sound of the water.


I knew better than to grab the coins.

Those were other people’s wishes.


Then the fountain began to talk to me.

I opened my eyes, but no one was around.

I knew it was the fountain.


Just me and that fountain in the middle of the Bayfield Mall in Barrie.

And the fountain told me it had some wishes of its own.

That everyone only cared about their wishes.


I didn’t have any money, but I told the fountain that my wish

was that its wishes came true.

I was a very quiet and compassionate child.


The fountain still seemed sad when I left with my mother.

I guess it knew I was just some kid.

That wishing for its wishes would never work.


The Nest


This gentleman showed up when we were living on Meadowland.

I was still a child and watched from the living room window.


The man came to the door first to get his money from my father.

Then he asked if we had a pail and something long.


My father got a very large white pail from under the sink.

Then he thought for a moment.


There are some hockey sticks in the garage,

my father offered.


That will do,

the man said.


Then my father closed the door.

He had already been stung a few times.


The man came back from the garage.

He walked towards the large pine tree

with nothing but the white pail and a hockey stick.


The nest was inside the growth of the tree.

The sky filled with attacking wasps whenever you approached.


I craned my neck, but the front of the house blocked my view.

Then the man returned a few minutes later.


With no protective gear.

Just the white pail and a hockey stick.

The sky all around him swarming angrily.


But the man seemed unaffected.

The nest so humungous it hung over the lip of that giant pail.

It looked like something almost alien.



I could hear my father’s amazement behind me.


The man just walked to the back trunk of his VW bug

and put the pail with all the wasps inside.

Then he closed the truck and drove off.


I could see the inside of the car filling with angry wasps.

The man seemed completely unbothered.

It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.


Flying Colours


A young child sits cross-legged on the floor.

Leaning over a colouring book.

Scratching some smears well outside the lines.


Two women sit over coffee in the next room.

One the mother, the other a friend.


The child is not yet able to talk.

It lets out a tiny sudden sound.

Shirtless and in diaper.


Throwing the cup full of crayons up into the air.

Before throwing the ones that land closest.


One of the women gets up to peer around the corner.

A motioned grunt from the child.

Then more crayons.


1 comment :

  1. Irony and melancholy humor. Can I say that? Melancholy humor shedding some attention to the dark, yet inexplicable, situations.


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