Dig the peat from beneath
his ragged nails and file them smooth.
Air the upper room, the crocheted spread.

’Tis a pity to bury him
in his store-boughten suit
when the Devlins down the lonen
go threadbare through the bog of a Sunday.

        I can no thole your tears, child.
                          ’T were no saint he.
His long silences hogged my light.
Dust on chintz curtains. Draw well
water for tea. Fetch a porcelain cup.
     Arra, Cushla, hush,
                            save a sup for him.
’T weren’t it he that was always starved
                                        with the cold.

“A Mother to Her Daughter” was published in the 2013 edition of The Labletter.

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