The Blue Shirt
Hot day in the city.
No wind, just sun on the hills.
"Go jogging?" he asks. "NO."
At Sunday Mass, he holds my hand.
"Unbutton your shirt" I whisper.
Salacious thought, but he grins.
Broad shoulders, sweet smile.
I touch his blue cotton shirt.
"Can I kiss your back?" I whisper again.
Raised eyebrows, he laughs at my audacity.
We drive to our River retreat.
Tall redwoods in dappled sunlight.
Clematis twists around porch posts.
Sweet gooseberries in his mouth.
The silver river meanders below,
shimmering in the green valley.
Turning my face to the sun, I smile in delight.
Kai spins, running to remembered corners,
looking for the blue-tailed lizards he loves to chase.
A frenzy of excitement, rolling in dead leaves.
Our peace in this place overwhelms me.
I turn to see him standing at the top of the hill.
He waves, framed by the blue hydrangeas,
and rows of blue-wood asters.
Heavenly gentian blue morning-glory vines
exploding up the fence rails.
I call up to him "Love your blue shirt...."
"Yes, I know!" he says, as he walks down, eyes teasing.
"You know we're not in church anymore,"
and he slowly unbuttons it.
Real Men Drink Whiskey
My father only drank Johnny Walker Black.
Eyes gleaming. Swirling his evening shot
in a thick glass tumbler.
A nightly ritual, sipping the golden nectar.
Breathing in acrid sharpness.
Sighing with pleasure.
Dipping his finger in amber,
brushing it across my lips.
She will become an alcoholic, Mother screamed.
Winking at me, he called back,
She will know what a real man likes.
Anamchara, he often called me,
the enchanting man I married.
Brown eyed and tall. A Galway feen,
in his blue Sea Island cotton shirt.
Every night, thick glass tumbler in hand.
His single shot, Midleton’s Irish Whiskey.
Grogan’s in Dublin. Friday night.
A shot of Talisker, please,
he called out to the busy bar.
And for your lassie?
Inching through the crowd,
I point to a familiar label.
I’ll have a Single Cask Midletons.
Throat scalding, gulping the elixir.
Coughing, I dabbed my eyes.
Glowing warmth raced through my body,
every nerve point wrenched alive.
This is very good, I mused.
Three more shots follow.
A Galway girl, at last.
Standing at the bar, he looked pale.
Calf leather wallet open on his palm.
Eyebrows knotted. Grim, pursed lips.
Bidding Slán to friends,
we walk out into night rain.
What did you order back there?
The Midleton I drink at home.
Shite, you pointed to the 30 Years, Limited Edition.
Fifty euros each shot.
I dropped to my knees. Slippery wet curb.
Body trembling with panic.
Aghast, remembering my four shots.
Head thrumming in syncopation.
He reached down and pulled me up to him.
Sinewy arms enfold, hearts touching.
It’s alright, love.
Brown eyes tease, rumpling my hair.
Hearty growling laughter.
Work it off tonight, eh?