poured only when the bottle of wine is dry
on special occasions when the heart
is clouded with what ifs and whys;
its certain tribal elixir a comfort in storms
and time that doesn’t fit into every day.
I pull a dram to call the tribe to circle ‘round,
protect me from playboys of the west and
certain agents that dishonor the tri-colour:
turn coats that can’t know a day of toil and turf
whose hands haven’t held the hand of the earth.
in a barrel-filled room full of the amber stream,
I find my grandfather who kept bottles in boxes
in case the big lake pulled in mountains of snow
jailing him in solitary confinement: it’s noon in New York
and he tastes manhattan: whiskey and sweet vermouth.
I am his daughter, one who has only sons,
he pulls me to him and says that I will hold up the name
in spite of the patriarchy, in spite of the brawn and
arrogance that are his second sons;
he knows that I am the one to bring him whiskey.