Grandmother

by Cláir Ní Aonghusa

i.m. Annie Moore Clancy

As I look out from the warren hill
My eyes are drawn from Galtee More
Towards that graveyard by the old school
Where you lie, your house of clay.
Your spirit strays about the farm
Visiting vacant shelters.

You take my hand,
lead me out to the henhouse.
An old one scratches your face
as you extract the eggs.
‘Cross hen,’ you say,
and I am stilled in my city fear,
forget to dance in my new, red shoes.

You fill a bucket from the tap
of the water tank,
your veined hands mixing swill
for clamorous pigs.
As they snuffle through their food,
I savour the smell.

Lastly, we visit the cart pony.
You pat him down. He snorts.
‘Poor old thing,’ you say.
Flies edge over his festering eyes.
We watch him chomp the thistled hay
with blunted, yellowed teeth,
no intruders welcome.

At night, you let me comb out
your braided, iron hair.
A stunning silver glint traps my eye.
Before you died, you said
you had to travel the long road
and would not stay.