Last Fling, Brothers and Curtain Call
Three poems by Moya Roddy
Without ceremony they removed your car.
It had lain a full year,
the battery slowly dying.
I watched it being hoisted –
saw it buck, sway,
the undercarriage flash –
remembered how you loved to dance.
Later, braving the gable
I came upon a bleached rectangle
– presence of an absence –
the exposed grass, pale
like baby hair reaching for colour.
They lived together all their lives –
finishing off each-others’ sentences, bowls
of left-over porridge. In their heyday,
a pair of eligible bachelors, a source
of endless speculation; romance.
Wedded to the farm, they worked
the hours God sent – letting the rosary
slide once their mother passed; making do
with a few mumbled Hail Marys; a pot
of strong tea before mounting the stairs.
A secret bound them: the eldest buggered
by a neighbour – his brother seeing the man
swagger from the barn; the scorch of the
sobs from within. They never spoke
about it, both dreaming of revenge though
the man was dead and buried thirty years.
The day before his seventy-third birthday
the youngest keeled over, upending
a milking stool as he went.
Jesus! he cried out – Mary and Joseph,
his brother completed as he bent
to lower each eyelid.
My mother sat in so many hospital waiting rooms
making a home among tattered magazines,
piped music –
listening for her name.
Sometimes I went with her,
saw the pleasure she took in those imperial summonses –
picked at last!
All her life she had passed unnoticed,
tending husband, children;
washing sheets that grew thinner and thinner –
as she herself grew wafer-thin,
wasting away in a hospital bed –
waiting to be called.
The day the consultant made his final prognosis
she opened her arms to him –
Moya Roddy was born in Dublin and has lived in Galway for the past 20 years. Her novel The Long Way Home was described as “simply brilliant” in The Irish Times and her short story collection, Other People, was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award. Roddy has written for RTÉ, the British Film Institute, Channel 4 and Scottish Television, and has been commissioned to write several screenplays. Her poems have been published in Crannog, Stoney Thursday, Holocaust Anthology 2016, Poeming Pigeons (USA) and The Irish Times. She is currently putting together her first collection.