Inland Among Stones
to my father
1. The Tower on the Cliffs of Moher
We empty wind from our pockets
and finger a few coins and decide
not to climb the unlit stair.
2. The Burren
There is a prayer
they say here, finding the first
gentian of the season: May we be
alive this time next year.
3. St. Bridget's Well
A cemetery near Liscannor.
Facing the crosses, we face the sea.
You tell me a story: how they say
an eel lives in the water and brings luck
if you're lucky enough to see.
I watched you kneel
to fill a small glass vial.
Later that water spilled in your suitcase.
4. The Bells of St. Mary's
This city has a saying: we are ancient
and well versed in the art of war.
They say their cathedral was once
a meeting house for Vikings
who used the stone at the door
to sharpen their swords.
They say the stone still bears scars.
5. A Hotel on O'Connell
Rebuilding is possible.
Wars happen and are forgotten,
or perhaps left alone.
Let the old tower remain rubble.
Forgive rebels for giving
the admiral his one explosive send-off.
6. The Ogham Stone
In the story of King Mider,
the Isle of Man is guarded by white cranes
who shout get away, pass by.
The forts and beehive huts monks built
still brace the wind off the sea, deserted.
The hammered stones they left upright,
their names notched in simple lines—
my name was—this my father—and his—
You showed me the plot
you bought for yourself on a hilltop
above the miles of alluvial fan.
Whatever stone you choose, it will bear
more than your name.
If we are strong the cranes will step aside.
When the ground closes,
you'll have nothing left to say.
I will be stone.
The one left standing.
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