Poem – By Mistake He Later Said (By Donal Mahoney)


Every once in awhile

over the last 40 years

Ralph wondered what might


have happened to the guy

who had moved in with the mother

of his children and drank all the time.


He remembered the kids saying

when they were small

the fellow got up one night


to go to the bathroom

and got lost in the hallway

went back to the wrong room


and got in the wrong bed

with Ralph’s daughter,

by mistake he later said.


Forty years later

in a technicolor nightmare

Ralph saw the guy’s name


blink on a neon billboard

and Ralph Googled him to find

the fellow had won the lottery


and moved to Arizona,

got cancer and died.

None of the children,


adults with families

of their own now, knew

what had happened to him


except for the daughter who

wakes up and Googles him

in the still of the night.


Author Bio:

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had fiction and poetry published in various publications in the U.S. and elsewhere. Among them are The Galway Review (Ireland), The Recusant (England), The Missing Slate (Pakistan), Guwahatian Magazine (india), Bluepepper (Australia), The Osprey Journal (Wales), Public Republic (Bulgaria), and The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey). Some of his earliest work can be found at and some of his newer work at