Accidental Scrapbook

By Michael Reilly

It occurs to me

As I sit and aspire

Toward innovation

Over a cup of charred coffee

And a collection of Billy Collins

That the depths of my imagination

Are merely an accidental scrapbook

And an invented image of the woods

Is commonly my grandparents’ backyard

If there is a path suggested

Like the one that led to the sandpits

In afternoons of innocence

And ended at the creek

After an exhausting journey

And a pile of sand in each sock

Or else a scene from a film

Or an eerie prime time television murder mystery

And the only imagined forest I can conjure

Comes from a dream

In which a wicked serpent drifts slowly through the fog

And toward my fearful face

And even here

In a place that has been shown to me but which I do not recognize

I understand:

My best attempt at an oil painting

Is really a photograph.


Mike Reilly is a writer of poetry, fiction, and music living in Philadelphia.

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