Ballynagaul, County Waterford
by Chris O’Carroll
A graybeard and a girl walk on this beach.
She’s his grandmother; she’s not really here.
He stoops for shells and pebbles. His hands reach
Across a family’s distances and years.
Of her eleven children, three are left —
His father and two aunts back in the States.
He pockets bits of Ireland, reverent theft
Of relics for her blood to venerate.
She lost two brothers here, both fishermen
Who labored daily on this chill, gray sea
That one day failed to bring them home again.
That’s when her girlhood ended. That’s when she
Booked passage for her children’s native land.
She’s not here; she can’t hold her grandson’s hand.
Chris O’Carroll is a writer and an actor. His poems have appeared in The Barefoot Muse, Measure, The Raintown Review, The Spectator, Umbrella, and other print and online journals.