?I.?On a walk through Killarney, I dodge wet loaves.?They would soon stick to sole:?husky bits of polka-dotted licorice,?black pudding gnocchi.??II.?I imagine plasmodial slime mold and black bear cubs?would spawn something like this glossy lump.??III.?At a house near Volx, we drink Pastis:?bananayellowshake with too much ice?melted by the Provençal sun.?It slows, idles us.??IV.?Coral weathered into miniature ginger roots?necessitates shoes on the Trá an Doilín.?Thus, I can stand, watch Galway hookers?skim the bay like spoons collect, ripple?the film on cooked canned soup.??V.?I scrape flakes of dead skin from my heels.?The spotted loafer harvests flakes of lichen ?from granite porphyry. Familiar, sharp.??VI.?Dampen hills of vesicular basalt, then comb:?jethair Zen Garden backs the Kerry Spotted Slug.
Evening Walk in Summer
Down the 336 through An Cheathrú Rua to the Trá an Doilín,
wind and water coax coral into the shape of beaded
tube lichen, the fingers fresh snow lends to shrubs.
On the side of the road, fuschia hangs and hums
in the manner of Chinese lanterns; red-orange asphodel
splits like banana peels into sad, drooping trumpets,
their keen as constant as the Connemara smell of burning
turf and rain. Stone walls spine the western blanket bog:
past the peat ziggurats and near the beach, grass bursts
and algae slicks the sea-rocks. Lichens freckle and splotch
granite boulders. A kick to the coral clicks like beads
on a mirror or marbles on a cold tiled floor.
Mornings I run down to the inlet where I talk to you
at night before the walk home on gravel.
Low tide: kelp in piles, a boat self-conscious,
in the Galway Bay stout rocks throw back dull sun.
Night: the water pushes at stones that don’t budge;
lights across the bay skip wavy neon reflections
off the water. They pick up the white of flowers.
There is so much more I want to tell you –
the most peculiar thing: in Irish, there are some forty
words for rain, but no single way to say I love you.
Things you should know about my grandmother
Two days a week, my father would overshoot
the Fisher Building downtown to drive me
downriver to my grandmother’s house –
Mercier Street, Wyandotte, Michigan.
Everything was ready when I got there:
two rackets and giant shuttlecocks,
toy pennies like copper pancakes,
my grandmother in a lawnchair on the driveway.
Though I remember the smell of the house,
the memory of her yard is stronger now:
a phalanx of snapdragons guarded the green,
weed-vines choked the fence, tomatoes bulged
in stomachs. Peonies backed the house,
eager and spreading like heads of cabbage –
my grandmother lived to grow, to create;
her neighbor tries to pick up the slack now.
The lawn balds: the tufts are sparse.
The cucumbers grow only to rot and fall, and
she sits in the kitchen and looks at the calendar –
some grounds can be rendered fertile by decay.