WILD ROSES, ELSBERRY CEMETERY
Your petals drop in excess onto stone.
Each spring this royal crimson down the rows,
Through rain or sun toward elemental bone.
This morning in the air a fuss of crows
Takes umbrage at the way you let all go;
Rebukes as well the one who comes and mows,
Caring no less for crows than petals' show.
THE YEAR WE RANG IN
Maybe five years a stay-at-home by then,
a young woman with enough pills
for two in the pocket, a sadness
that could check the sea.
Nana wants to watch Lawrence Welk,
the usual for her Saturday night, why not,
so it's New Years?
There will be others.
But tonight, it is just the two of us,
flesh and blood, cold comfort shared,
something we do and remembered
long after she is gone.
It was she who said, get a pan and a spoon,
when the ball descended in New York.
She, who opened the front door to the coal sky,
banging the spuds pan through the burly cold.
And then I, banging and banging and banging,
forgetting how inextricably bound
by the "Irish mood" we were,
murdering our cold drum.
Kathleen McCann teaches poetry and literature at Eastern Nazarene
College, Quincy, MA. Her first full-length collection of poems, A Roof Gone
To Sky, came out last November. She is currently working on a collection entitled Other Winters, Old Suns. New poems are forthcoming in The Texas Review and Karamu.