She slept above the creamery, her dreams
rising into the neck of Dublin’s bottle
until she herself slowly separated
out of the thin milk of a dead mother.
She told me her father did not drink
though the chill of iron tankards ruled his hand
as he doled out love, cheating his daughter
by a farthing’s weight for every quart,
ladling on the beatings like a man
dumping the spoils into a stone gutter.
Once he shattered her eardrum, then left
for Liverpool. She, unaccountably, followed,
the harsh buzz of his constant fault-finding
planted permanently inside her skull,
badgering her across a greased Atlantic.
–Richard Broderick (for Evelyn Case Hassard)