Aran Islands: Éire, 1902
Slate floor, thatched roof cottage,
Cill Rónáin village on Inis Mór.
saxifrage blossom, wild roses,
plaintive dirge of the wind harp:
the keening women
my sister Treasa and I, Maurya,
salt caked on her lips,
digging potatoes in the rain.
And I go with her,
who will die in childbirth,
the seaweed gatherer
hanging from rafters, salt fish and oilskins
the Aran sweater, a “bridal shirt”
and I visit with my sister,
a wife unable to sign her name.