An Irish Gathering

by Donal Mahoney

Originally published by Quartet Magazine

Thomas said
you can’t go home again
but I did for my sister
and the christening of her first.
Everyone, on folding chairs, against
the whitewashed basement walls, was there
for ham and beef and beer, the better
bourbons, music, argument and talk.
Maura came; she hadn’t married. 
Paddy, fist around a beer, declared
I owed my family the sight
of me more often.
Hannah, thickset now,
gray and apronless,
rose beside the furnace,
wolverined me to the coal bin door
and asked me in the face,
with sibilance and spittle,  
who or what it was
that kept me anywhere,
everywhere, but there.

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