Second Time Around

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(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.