FROM "CLEARANCES," IN MEMORIAM M. K. H. (1911 - 1984)

For my mother, Leona Mare Carroll Ireland

I found a poem by Seamus Heaney that would not let me go. Mother never forgot to mention that they had a cook in her family home on Elmwood Place. I think that her name was Lizzy, Irish no doubt.

FROM "CLEARANCES," IN MEMORIAM M. K. H. (1911 - 1984)


When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives -
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

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