Touch: The Journal of Healing



(for my father)

    by Sharon Erby

The curtain fell when Lady Windermere’s Fan ended

that single night I spent in Dublin

just like the tightness in the room always did

when your thick fingers licked that old guitar’s strings.

Acoustic wasn’t in your vernacular,

and you’d never dance the Irish jig

unless Uncle Joe came down home

and you two got lit enough to put Uncle Pat to shame.

You shifted seamlessly between Joe’s brogue

and Jimmy Roger’s yodel with an ease Pavarotti

would have admired.  Only you could bring harvesting

to an art with your sudden celebrations.

Hands and arms became a brown palette when you

rolled up your shirt sleeves and strummed –

your breath, a syncopation of soft wind,

made the hooked-on harmonica sing

in between froggie-went-a-courtin’ and lonesome blues.

Years later, when Heaney stepped quiet

behind the podium, crisp in khakis,

rolled up his shirtsleeves and spoke of digging,

I remembered you telling your grandson

poetry was your favorite subject in school.

© 2010 Sharon Erby

While completing her MFA in creative writing at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Sharon Erby received the Norris Church Mailer Fellowship and her fiction was nominated for the AWP Intro Journal Award. Her writing has appeared in Kaleidoscope and Feminist Studies, among others.


Copyright © 2010

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.