That One Over

(Mary McCarthy Lynch, 1867-1949)

She wore the china cabinet key around her neck
As if she couldn’t trust even her long-time mate
To keep from making off with a gold-rimmed plate
To hock for whiskey money when he’d spent his check.
And what was inside the cabinet, to warrant theft?
China with chipped edges, “silver” that was silver plate,
A cut crystal jam jar she grandly called a “vase,”
A statue of Mary that a Lourdes priest had blessed.
Everyone else in town thought her man hung the moon:
She wouldn’t even call him by his Christian name.
“That one over,” she’d say, pointing across the room.
She made him sleep on the porch when he’d had a few.
To be Irish then was to be awash in shame.
He hadn’t deceived her yet, but you never knew.

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.