Ringing in Sick to go Mermaid Hunting
Once when I wasn’t, I called in sick for the evening shift
and went instead to meet you at Raftery’s in Kilcolgan,
so we left your car there and I drove south-west
down the summer solstice evening, hitting for the coast
we squinted through sunglasses at Ballinderreen and Kinvara
but didn’t stop, turned for Fanore at Ballyvaughan, you leaning back
feet on the dash singing along to the Indigo Girls and Johnny Cash,
asking me where we were headed, but messing about,
I wouldn’t say, I told you on a day like this, trust me
it will all work out: we’re going mermaid hunting
and the signs are good for catching.
There were no mermaids though, at the pier before Blackhead
just one dolphin doing her bit for inter-speciel integration
she came in waist-deep to meet us and we were charmed,
and drenched. From behind wet hair you asked me how
I’d known and in my stupid humour I said oh you know
I had my people call her people, that’s how it goes,
this event was arranged for your pleasure dear.
You pushed me backwards off the pier then jumped
yourself and our dolphin circled as if she got the joke,
spearing herself four feet skywards above our heads
then vanishing beneath. Us two fools, we swam through seaweed,
feeling elemental and amateur, you’re half fish you said,
yea but I’ve caught you this time.
In Lenane’s at dusk we had chowder, and a pint,
I sat with salty skin and hair and when you joined
the jobs-worth band to sing ‘The Dimming of the Day’ for me,
you made every hair on every sunburned neck there stand.
You slept then as I drove but I woke you in Kilcolgan to send you
down the Craughwell road, me? I hit for home, but parked
instead at Whitestrand beach, on the longest evening of the year
too full of everything to go inside just then.
Copyright © Sarah Clancy 2012