A Pastoral
Anne Menasché

The train took a long drag before it pulled
us out of Cambridge and into a clear dish
of field. There were no sheep or fog, but lulled
cows, their eyes punctuating the swish
of snow with Morse Code. It reminded Dad
of Ireland: I know because he told me so,
standing first on Jesus Green below a tilted slab
of sky so pale and distant, I was not slow
to admit it heaven, while colleges crowded
around us, waiting for the “but” that never came,
and again in the watery morning, his head
blocking my view of the Killarney he imagined, Cambridge
swallowed by a sea of longing. Wow, I said,
I believe it, though I didn’t – not loneliness, so foreign
to me, foreigner in my father’s memories, nor home’s holiness.

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