from Pieces of Kate

Eamon Grennan

Thirteen

Her Junior High School graduation:
she’s singing alone
in front of the lot of us—

her voice soprano,
surprising, almost
a woman’s. The Our Father

in French, the new language
making her strange, out there,
full-fledged and

ready for anything. Sitting
together—her mother, her
father—we can hear

the racket of traffic
shake the main streets
of Jersey City as she sings

deliver us from evil,
and I wonder can she see me
in the dark here, years

from belief, on the edge
of tears. Doesn’t matter. She
doesn’t miss a beat, stays

in time, in tune—while into
our common silence I whisper,
Sing, love, sing your heart out!

More by Eamon Grennan

Cold Morning

Through an accidental crack in the curtain 
I can see the eight o'clock light change from 
charcoal to a faint gassy blue, inventing things

in the morning that has a thick skin of ice on it 
as the water tank has, so nothing flows, all is bone, 
telling its tale of how hard the night had to be

for any heart caught out in it, just flesh and blood 
no match for the mindless chill that's settled in, 
a great stone bird, its wings stretched stiff

from the tip of Letter Hill to the cobbled bay, its gaze 
glacial, its hook-and-scrabble claws fast clamped 
on every window, its petrifying breath a cage

in which all the warmth we were is shivering.

Untitled [Back they sputter]

Back they sputter like the fires of love, the bees to their broken home
Which they’re putting together again for dear life, knowing nothing
Of the heart beating under their floorboards, besieged here, seeking
A life of its own.  All day their brisk shadows zigzag and flicker

Along a whitewashed gable, trafficking in and out of a hair-crack
Under wooden eaves, where they make a life for themselves that knows
No let-up through hours of exploration and return, their thighs golden
With pollen, their multitudinous eyes stapled to a single purpose:

To make winter safe for their likes, stack-packing the queen’s chambers
With sweetness.  Later, listen: one warm humming note, their night music.

Memento

Scattered through the ragtaggle underbrush starting to show green shoots 
lie the dark remains of rail sleepers napping now beside the rusted-out wreck 

of a Chevy that was once sky-blue and now is nothing but shattered panels and
anonymous bits of engine in the ditch by a path that was once a railway line 

cut between small hills whose silence hasn't been broken by the rattle and 
lonesome-blown whistle of a train for fifty years and whose air hasn't filled 

for ages with my childhood's smell (set by Seapoint on the coastal line) of coal 
smoke and hot steam puffed up in great cloud-breaths out of a black-sooted chimney.