Ireland in the Kitchen
Somewhere a banshee is wailing,
somewhere a lamp is missing oil.
Someone’s counting fireflies and talking
crazy like a language I don’t understand.
Oh, Ma, it’s you.
You with the boney
out of urine drenched
“Mare, put some more peat
in the stove, will you? It’s going
to be a cold one today.”
Today, Ireland is in the kitchen;
the only warm room in the house.
“Keep the pot boiling, Mare. Never
know who's going to stop by
for a visit and a cup of tea.”
Today, the leprechauns captured
Mama’s fumbling mind; their mischief
shines out the hollow of her eyes.
I’ll leave you with the little people
for another day, Mama, thinker’s
daughter, rattling like a string of cans
hanging off your father’s ice and coal wagon.
Down the cobblestoned streets you go,
fingering your hair, wondering how
your little towhead turned to strands of silver.
The leprechauns teach you to climb a tree
that blooms in the forest eternal; where
families of elves tinker on shoes while
spinning tales and using tomfoolery to
bamboozle and confuse you.
Tonight, they promise to take you for a ramble
in the bramble. They say it’s heaven in the bracken.
“Mare, put some more peat in the stove, will you?
You never know who's going to stop by for a cup
Mary Shanley is a poet and short story writer. She has published three books of poetry: Hobo Code Poems (Vox Pop Press), Things They Left Behind, Poems for Faces, (Sidestreet Press), and Mott Street Stories and Las Vegas Stories, (Sidestreet Press). She first published in Long Shot Magazine, which was co-founded by Allen Ginsberg and Danny Shot. She has continued to published her work in print and online journals.