Friday, November 21, 2014

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Those Border Niños Would Go Home, Too

The gossip started years ago
and ruined lives, burned everyone.
No one ever tried to stop it.

This Russian couple came to town 
and carved a life from land 
they had never seen. 

They could have moved years ago 
since money's not a problem.
The husband is an engineer, 

the wife a psychotherapist. 
Neighbors never speak to them,
never have, never will. 

At the festival that summer,
the couple tried to meet neighbors
and struck an iceberg. 

Elmo at the Dew Drop Inn recalls
"they liked hot dogs topped with kraut"
but "they had heavy accents."

Now Elmo and the neighbors swear
if they had sent the Russians packing,  
those border niños would go home, too. 

A Death in the Family

Sometimes it helps to learn
a relative has died 
a close relative you haven’t

seen in years and didn’t plan
to see again because 
you haven’t talked in years 

and wouldn’t talk again unless 
you met in heaven or perhaps in hell
and God or Satan said  

it’s too late now to harbor hate 
why not shake hands--
and that may happen yet

if the two of you should soar 
beyond the clouds or 
plummet to the coals

and find yourselves together
in the same place forever.
The two of you always knew

where the other one would go 
and too late now you both 
may be surprised.

Judy's Father and Mine

The only difference between 
Judy’s father and mine
is my father didn’t drink.
When we were tykes 
they’d come home from work 
in a rage every evening, 
her father drinking into the night 
and mine sitting in silence
in a tiny parlor playing
ancient reels and jigs 
on a huge RCA Victrola.

Her father wore a tie
and carried a brief case,
and mine wore coveralls
and carried a lunch bucket 
into the alleys of Chicago
climbing light poles to fix 
dead wires so all could see.
Her father came home neat,
mine soaked in sweat.

But they were twins, 
Siamese if you will, 
each miserable in his own way, 
driving wives and children nuts.
I always wondered if Judy and I
had normal fathers, if we
would have been 
scriveners as adults.

I know I would have gone
to law school and railed
in court in behalf of 
the innocent and guilty
and made wads of money 
I’d be fingering now instead 
of sitting behind a keyboard 
at dawn still typing. 

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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