In Louisburgh, County Mayo, Thinking About Dublin

I’m  delighted that this poem, published a few weeks ago on the Muses Gallery of Highland Park Poetry, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Huge thanks to Highland Park Poetry for this honor!

 

In Louisburgh, County Mayo, Thinking About Dublin
The smell of burning peat in this steady morning rain
suggests a memory out of reach, something from years ago
when I got the notion to drain my small savings account,
head for Ireland, once final exams were read, grades in,
textbooks collected, counted, accounted for, our bosses
satisfied that the City of Stamford had gotten its due.
I was twenty-six, marriage in shreds, divorce papers drawn up—
I was seeking a different self, a poetic self.
I stayed a week in Dublin, wandering the paths Joyce describes.
Each day I distracted myself from the hole in my life,
went to the Abbey, met an American actor, a minor
figure on the Broadway stage who took me to an after-hours place
frequented by the Dublin theatre crowd— I could’ve sworn
when we knocked and the actor whispered the password,
the man who peeked out and opened the door was Milo O’Shea—
The actor and I drank Jameson’s neat, sipped it slowly.
In Boyle, County Roscommon, town of my great grandmother,
I wandered the cemetery, searching for the Sheekey graves.
The headstones from the days of the Great Hunger hid in the high grass.
I rented a small red Ford, drove across Ireland,
slowing down, stopping often for the sheep, accepting waves
from old farmers as I shifted into first gear, on to the next village
stopping each night to find a room and perhaps supper—
Supper identical to breakfast, eggs and rashers,
Brown bread and white, tomato, tea, lashings of butter—
I ate too much and drank the Guinness, which fattened me up–
I outsized my waistbands. I was growing in my grief:
Instead of wasting away. I came home a stone heavier,
a bottle of Jameson’s in my duty-free bag.

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