read by Paul Muldoon. audio from paulmuldoon.net
My eldest sister arrived home that morning
In her white muslin evening dress.
‘Who the hell do you think you are
Running out to dances in next to nothing?
As though we hadn’t enough bother
With the world at war, if not at an end.’
My father was pounding the breakfast-table.
‘Those Yankees were touch and go as it was—
If you’d heard Patton in Armagh—
But this Kennedy’s nearly an Irishman
So he’s not much better than ourselves.
And him with only to say the word.
If you’ve got anything on your mind
Maybe you should make your peace with God.’
I could hear May from beyond the curtain.
‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
I told a lie once, I was disobedient once.
And, Father, a boy touched me once.’
‘Tell me, child. Was this touch immodest?
Did he touch your breasts, for example?’
‘He brushed against me, Father. Very gently.’