The War Reporter Paul Watson Was Talking to His Mother

by Dan O'Brien

and I asked her, Did you ever ask him
about what happens after? He’d been sick
for a while, of the same kidney disease
that’s killing me. Did my father believe
he’d be going somewhere? And she said, Well
how should I know? Ha ha ha. We just talked
about, you know, how to take care of all
you kids, what our savings account was and
all that sort of thing. And I said, You know,
I find this hard to believe. He’s staring
into the abyss—how could he face this
fact? And she just shrugged and answered, Bravely,
I suppose. And, well, that kind of told me
everything I need to know.

DAN O’BRIEN’s third collection of poetry, New Life, will be published by CB Editions in London in 2015. His second collection, _Scarsdale, was published by CB Editions in 2014, and in the US by Measure Press in 2015. War Reporter, his debut collection, was published in 2013 by CB Editions, and by Hanging Loose Press in the US. War Reporter received the 2013 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Foundation’s Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, both in the UK. O’Brien’s poems have appeared internationally in journals, magazines, and newspapers including 32 Poems, 5 AM, 10Tal, Ambit, Bare Fiction, Birmingham Poetry Review, Cold Mountain Review, and Crab Orchard Review.