The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ghost Dogs by Dion O’Reilly


On cold mornings, as he stropped his blade
on the wand of the whetstone,
the butcher would tell me how he loved
warming his hands inside a steaming beast,
and I, a child, held out for him
the steel bucket for the bull’s heart,
big as a rugby ball, still beating,
its convent of small passages, matrixed
with muscle and stiff fat. I carried it,
with the vast plain of liver,
the kidneys and pimply tongue—
three trips at least—through the wet
vetch and bees, bringing every bit
of this bounty to my mother
to fry in butter—quick—
before the raw power waned.

This selection comes from Ghost Dogs, available from Terrapin Books. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sunni Brown Wilkinson.

Dion O’Reilly’s first book, Ghost Dogs, was published in February 2020 by Terrapin Books. Her work appears in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Narrative, Sugar House Review, New Letters, New Ohio Review, Rattle, The Sun, and other literary journals and anthologies. She facilitates ongoing poetry workshops in a farmhouse full of wild art and is a member of the Hive Poetry Collective which produces radio shows, podcasts, and events in Santa Cruz. (

Sunni Brown Wilkinson’s poetry can be found in Western Humanities Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, SWWIM, Crab Orchard Review and other journals and anthologies. She is the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019, finalist for the Hudson Prize) and The Ache & The Wing (forthcoming 2021, winner of Sundress’s 2020 Chapbook Prize).  She also won New Ohio Review’s NORward Poetry Prize and the 2020 Joy Harjo Prize from Cutthroat Literary Magazine. She teaches at Weber State University and lives in northern Utah with her husband and three sons. 


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