There’s no memory I can claim
of my father and his fiddle
save for stories my older sisters rustle up,
and then he exists again
on a winter evening, the dishes washed,
my mother granting permission to stay up late
as he bowed the jigs & reels
carried across the Atlantic by his father
from County Wexford, 1912.
I imagine he was in his first heaven
those nights around the kitchen table,
the velvet-lined fiddle case opened
to its lump of flannel-wrapped rosin,
his six grace-notes of daughters
laughing and clapping out a beat.
I was young and fell asleep
on someone’s lap.
I’m told sometimes he laid the fiddle down
and swept my mother up in dance
on the old linoleum with its glaze of wax —
my mother’s pride —
and when he called her “Frenchie”
she giggled and blushed to his bold kiss
on her cheek, still in harmony
after so many measures.
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