PALMETTO POEM:  Two poems by Tim Conroy

Motion Detectors

Is there a safe path
even with a light aimed
perfectly on the walkway
or upon the camellia bushes?
We imagine a world
with shadows everywhere,
lurking to steal lives.
Each corner of the house
wired waiting to chase away
a two-legged rascal but usually
illuminating a rotund raccoon
on another garbage raid
or the neighbor’s cat twitching its tail
on the roof of a Prius.
When the wind bends the branch
to jiggle in front of its lens,
we crack the door
to check—convinced we know
why it goes on and off.
We glower at them as they shine upon
what it is we fear,
the perils of living
with creatures like us.



In a soft composition of rain,
then an outpouring of grand expanse,
rising to the hackberry, overwhelming
the new deck, we fled a thousand years.

When floodwaters recede, the flesh of homes
sullied and sick, we focus lenses to memories,
cross thresholds as shadow and light. See
the demarcation of chance, watermarks

on walls above the ruin of below.
Bone dry oystermen in Savannah,
wet muck on fresh-in-love faces,
emulsion peeling layers of occasion

from photos not worth another word.
Toss albums into dumpsters,
curse cameras from unlivable spaces,
their apertures fixed to fate.

Was it ever real? Our trip to Italy?
The wedding on the beach at Edisto?
Stubbornly adhering to each other,
no longer salvageable.

Tim Conroy is a former special education teacher, school administrator and vice president of the South Carolina Autism Society. His poetry and short fiction have been published in literary journals, magazines and compilations, including Fall Lines, Auntie Bellum, Jasper, and Marked by Water. Muddy Ford press published his first book of poetry, “Theologies of Terrain.” A founding board member of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, established in his brother’s honor, Conroy lives and writes in Columbia. 


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