Saturday, November 13, 2021

Mary Shanley - One Poem

 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

shoulders slipping

out of urine drenched

flannel pajamas.


“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

of tea.”


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.

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