Legs All Shining Down by Mary Lou Maloney

Mary Lou Maloney
Tommy Flanagen
Country Leitrim, Ireland
If one of the cows were in heat
he’d be out in the meadow
but not on Sundays
when going to mass.
Outside the back door
in his Sunday clothes,
his voice takes over the house.
Now where do you think you’re going
with those bare legs shining down.
We pray that somewhere
are pairs of stockings.
Black ones, sunlight, bright pink.
We dig and borrow
and eventually come downstairs.
Queen Siobhan,
Edel and Veronica,
Sisters Mary Eileen and Mary Catherine,
Princess Marian Elizabeth.
Lastly, my sister and me
ready to meet
Uncle Tommy’s hands.

A Ceilidh
After Mass on Sunday
the Kelliher’s and the McTague’s
stand at our door.
Ah, how are ye, says
Aunt Carmel, would you
have a cup of tea?
Neighbors soon pack
into the kitchen: Twelve
fourteen, eighteen.
The kettle boiling,
Guinness pouring,
fire roaring.
Tomatoes and eggs
and beans begin
to feel the fire.
John Hugh picks up his fiddle.
Mary Kate joins in
and soon we’re singing,
T’was better to die
‘neath an Irish sky
than at Suvla or Sud el Bar.
Pauline puts on her Hard Shoes,
jumps into the Treble Reel
in full 6/8 time.
Tommy Kelliher
is right behind her
with a treble jig.
The smokers outside
watch a herd of cows
shaking their tales
No one pays attention
to a sky with a wild
streak of chartreuse
dying to amuse them