Second Time Around

(Mary McCarthy Lynch, 1867-1949)

Back when I used to smoke, I’d stub them out
in crystal ashtrays all around the house

that turned my stomach, emptied in the trash.
Times when I slipped the last one from the pack

too late at night to risk a run for more
at some gas station slash convenience store,

I’d comb through ashes for the longest butts
and light them up again without disgust.

* * * * * * * *

Minnie McCarthy scandalized the town
of Knockmullane, Cork, turning Jack Lynch down.

Pretty girls wanted American fun,
not boredom in Ireland with a farmer’s son!

He followed her over and found her on her knees
scrubbing Protestant toilets for a couple bucks a week

and proposed to her again with no resistance met.
He was the longest butt she was going to get.

Julie Kane

Julie Kane

Julie Kane's collections of poetry include Rhythm & Booze (2003), winner of the National Poetry Series; Jazz Funeral (2009), winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize; and Paper Bullets (2014), a collection of light verse. Her poems appear in more than sixty anthologies including Best American Poetry 2016 and The Book of Irish American Poets from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. A former Fulbright Scholar and Louisiana Poet Laureate, Julie is Professor Emeritus of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Julie Kane

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Author: Julie Kane

Julie Kane's collections of poetry include Rhythm & Booze (2003), winner of the National Poetry Series; Jazz Funeral (2009), winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize; and Paper Bullets (2014), a collection of light verse. Her poems appear in more than sixty anthologies including Best American Poetry 2016 and The Book of Irish American Poets from the Eighteenth Century to the Present. A former Fulbright Scholar and Louisiana Poet Laureate, Julie is Professor Emeritus of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.