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by T.S. Kerrigan

For Betty Thompson on her 80th Birthday

You speak of them, your frieze of fallen men,
Your father, brothers, lovers, husbands, son,
So vividly, they seem alive again.
By 12 o’clock the house is overrun.
With guests. Connecting every face and name,
You smile at them and take their hands,
Then blow out every candle flame.
Your daughters whisper manifold commands.
The birthday gifts are opened, put aside.
As children, bored now, scuffle on the floor,
You muse again on all your men who died.
The house grown still, you speak of them once more,
Your father, brothers, lovers, husbands, son,
The strength it took to bury every one.

T.S. Kerrigan is an Irish American poet who has had his poetry published on both sides of the Atlantic.

Pat Jones
Published 23 August 2011