The Wrist-Snatcher’s Rant

The others, of course,
are more rabid than I
but less apt to show it.
Whenever I strike,
I never romp off.
I stand under neon,
the wrist
that I’ve snatched
tight in my teeth
as I wait with a smile
for the wagon.
As one of the few
wrist-snatchers still
on the streets of Chicago,
I make all of my rounds
in old tennies.
They allow me to dive 
for the purse hand,
whack it and sink
my teeth in the wrist
of the free hand,
give a terrier’s yip
then head for the neon
where I duck
so my head
can spin on its shoulders
till I'm certain
I have no pursuers.
In dreams every night
I see all of the women
whose wrists
I have had in my teeth.
They stand like
Statues of Liberty,
shrieking and waving
their stumps like flares.
Every night their screams
carve a frieze of patrol cars
in the middle of the street. 

So Fingertips Kiss

Five kids, eight years. Then
one June day my wife shouts
to me on the mower
roaring in the yard:
“I’ve had enough.”
And like a ballerina,
she rises on one foot, sole
of the other foot firm
against her knee.
With arms overhead
so fingertips kiss,
she smiles,
and like a helicopter
lifts into the air,
clears the garage
and keeps rising.
I can do nothing now
but applaud
and be proud.
As if at the ballet,
I clap from the mower
and await the explosion
as she hits the sun.

             Ireland to America, long ago
In this Kerryman’s eyes
you can still see
big ships sail
and lighthouses flicker
light years away.
He’s 70 today
and sits tombstone straight
in his caneback chair.
He waves at the flake
hanging from his nose,
misses and curses.
It’s his first curse of the day
and he’s ready now for anything,
an ancient ram braced for the British
climbing through the mist.
His children, parents themselves now,
sit in his parlor, silent around him.
When they hear that first curse,
they know it’s 20 years earlier
and Father is calling
a big meeting of the Family.
They shift in their chairs
as his eyes and his words
whiz around the room
like bees liquored up
looking for something to sink into.

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Copyright © 2010  Donal Mahoney

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On Emigrating To Iceland After Iraq
Consider first the Alabama heat,
consider next the toad
still as a turd on this rural bridge
rupture slung across a stream
where offal floats,
where clumps are belching.
Note the toad, the reeks
that genie up beside it.
Then remember Iceland
and the freshets of its Spring.
Iceland had no toads,
no reeks to genie up beside them.