Evening Street Review
The Irish Goodbye
What if there were no photo album, or a photo album filled
with strangers in waiting, or only the rumor of an album
lost in a careless fire, maybe it was really her patent leather
pocketbook of black and whites buried in the back of a closet,
waiting for light, waiting for stories to tell themselves,
waiting to fade in and out like Alzheimer memories…
I want to remember Nana as an old lady version of me,
smart ass, clever by half, witty in an innocent inappropriate way.
The old lady cozied in the breakfast nook who when we were alone
used to pull out her partial - why? To show me things were not
as they seemed? To laugh at the predictably
shocked silly look on my face? Just because?
What if stories of relations with names of saints and kings,
and the Cullyhanna Gun Club, and devotions offered after T.V.
bombings and assassinations, were sanitized for young ears? What if
stories of Pop Pop lumbering up Flatbush Avenue with a chifferobe
roped to his mended back were metaphors of impermanence squared
of him stooped in mourning her again leaving from life to life?
Somehow the yard still has roses: red roses on the four seater trellis,
white on the picket fence that drop their petals at the thought of touch,
huge pinks beside the pussy willow and lilacs, and I always
thought they were all hers. Perhaps someone told me, or maybe
I sensed she was the last one capable of coaxing life
from a dead stick thrust into brown earth…