“To Sarah 1999”



To Sara, 1999

Nearly sixteen years ago,
you made your way into this world,
calm and quiet, with none
of the fuss or emergency
of Sean and Nate.
Mom didn’t break a sweat.
When you started crawling,
you strutted, hands gaiting out
like a Tennessee Walker’s,
your head held high, eyes gleaming.
You swam at three, floating
to the pool’s surface in Fontana
and paddling away.
Tonight, fifteen, you’re boarding
a plane to Ireland by yourself
on your first flight, seven hours
in the dark across the Atlantic
to land in Shannon at dawn.
Backpack in place,
you walk the long corridor
beyond where Mom and I can go.
We stand there, grinning,
watching and waving,
as you pass through security
and emerge on the other side.

From At Sunset, Facing East.© Apprentice House, 2016.






You doubt that time passes quickly, that your children will pack up and go?

This was 18  years ago, and Sarah is a Millennial, poor child.

How did she get on in Ireland? Do you  have family there?

Was there someone at Shannon, in the godforsaken hours,

Smiling, charmed, protective,

To bring her to Limerick and onwards to somewhere nice?

Did she fall in love with Cork and Doolin? Visit the U2 Wall?

Did she vow to do Celtic Studies, quote “The Commitments”

Forget The Commandments (“Fourth: Honour thy father and thy mother”) 

Come home with an Aran sweater and wait for ten years 

to be in fashion?

Sarah, the Millennial.  Can she drive?  Does she have a job?

Does she live with you still, under your roof or has she flown?

Does she have a Sarah of her own? A Bill?





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