Denise Low

1949

Saint Patrick's Again

Live jazz at El Fresco is one guy, electric plinks,
until he turns off the switch, closes his eyes,

and warbles a boy's tenor, wood-flute tones,
pure séance hymns from before Christians.

Rowdies at the bar stop fighting and stare
as seawater washes through the room,

seeping through floorboards to serpent dens.
The chorus stirs spirits from family lore.

Desmond, Big Miller, James MackGehee—
all rise from steerage and sing with the lords.

Next performance is a poet reciting,
"The Luck of the Irish," blue eyes snapping:

"Once I journeyed to the Cliffs of Moher."
I follow him to a rocky precipice, pause,

then jump to dizzy foam tides below, fall,
keep falling into this slow, heartbreaking solo.
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