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Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Vol. 06, Joint Issue 22 & 23: July-Oct 2021


Sink Hole and Other Poems  Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan (b. 1978) is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  He attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada where he received his Master's Degree in Military History. He has been nominated multiple times for both Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net awards. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Huffington Post, Cultural Weekly, Setu, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. He can be contacted at


1. Sink Hole 


I started losing my voice weeks ago. 

Right around the time that sink hole  

opened up on our street while the latest  

disaster movie put asses in the seats. 


First, a pain in my throat. 

Followed by the stretching of the vocal 

chords until I became some 

gulping screenshot waterfall everyone  

pretends they want to visit when they don't  

even want to get out of bed. 


The price of gas won't get you six  

city blocks from your house anyways. 

And the price of food, it's just easier to starve. 


But not without a voice, 

how am I supposed to complain? 


Or sing in the shower  

if the right song  

comes along? 


Or scare the cat 

each time it runs its claws 

down the couch? 


No one ever sets out to give themselves 

the silent treatment. 

It could be something serious, 

even if I have never been. 


All this water  

and not a single freshwater  

lake in sight.


2. The City Needs Consent  


This hardhat from the hydro company 

comes to the door. 


Leaves some contact information

doorknob hanging, 

but I catch him on the way out. 


He has been out back the past week, 

inspected the powerlines and noticed some 

small growth that has to be removed. 


I try to tell him about a tree

my wife has been talking about. 

That she wants them to cut away. 


He says he did mark

a single poplar a few yards down 

for removal, but that we look okay. 


I am a grown man in his pajamas. 

Trying to speak with some authority. 

On my third bottle of wine

at two in the afternoon, 

hoping to appear as though I am not on  

my third bottle of wine.  


And we talk for some time. 

He mentions this herbicide

the city needs consent  

to spray so the trees do not grow back again. 

Asks if we have any pets. 


I tell him we do. 

He asks if our dog goes outside. 

I tell him we have a cat and that she goes  

outside for almost half the day. 


So we'll just say no, he says. 

We agree to say no to the herbicide. 


Him getting back in his truck  

and me returning to the bottle. 


These demolition site words  

that can't help but fall right on top  

of one another.


3. Unmistakable Bedrooms  


The abyss never gazed  

back at me. 


Who's abyss? 

Surely not that well-mustachioed Octoberfest 

caught in an Italian love triangle. 


This is not some randy kiss kiosk 

at the county fair. 


Exchanging herpes and lipstick  

and monies as per the modern  

capitalist model. 


Which brings me to the honey  

from the hive. 


Why buildings wait for jumpers 

like sincerity at altitude. 


Whole fertilizer bombs 

renouncing the farm. 


If I see you when things get dark, 

lead me up to unmistakable bedrooms. 


Filled with lust and ugly trinkets 

that could belong to anyone else. 


After all those stairs  

that keep your stamina  

in question. 


The curtains pulled over  

like privacy making a comeback. 


All this salvia switching teams. 

The hangers in the closet  

just back from the swinging gallows.


4. Hill of Beans 


It starts with the simple opening 

of a can. 


That stubborn way the last bit of lid always  

tries to stay on. 


Like a long-oxidized coin forgetful pockets  

refuse to part with.  


Then a second can, a third, before a fourth... 

Soon a hill of beans in spite of bad reputations. 


A large pot over the stove element. 

If anyone feel the heat, it doesn't show. 


Surely, I am the luckiest man under clouded  

molasses sky. 


The heels of naked feet over cold linoleum. 

Familiar three day wrinkles for clothes. 


Something stirring that is not a mouse. 


5. Feversham Water Source 

Don't drink the water! 

I hear those namby-pamby  

water drinkers say that all the time, 

as though their bodies are

made of different stuff, 

a little silicon in places,

some collagen thrown in perhaps, 

but hardly the main ingredient

for a very limited menu 

if we are talking feathers

out of their only cushy pillows 

which is, of course,

exactly what I intend to do  

on these many sleepless nights

while poorly lit  

Baphomet altars spread

their silly valedictorian wings 

and the window sits ajar

like some childhood  

cookie heist that always ends  

in denials.



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