Cliffs of Moher – July 2016
The cow’s lashes catch the rain—sudden
deluge, as if Lugh himself yanked
some stopper from the sky. Valleys
fold the storm into pockets.
At the cliffs, gale winds gave way
to decadent sun, instant to instant—
little could we predict. From the window
of the tour bus I watch a pair of ducks
waddle through tall grass. You sit
in the row in front of me, careful—
I think—to keep me
from getting the wrong idea.
The mallard flaps his wings, rattles
his neck toward a splotch of sunlight.
Ecstatic at the cliffs
we dangled our limbs
over all that emptiness.
Give me an inch of cliff face—
you know the rest. I find a dry spot
on a park bench. I buy a half-
pint. My self-help book cautions me
not to fret over what I can’t control.
At the cliffs, the wind billowed
our clothing for a moment—cold
air wicked sweat from our ribs. We inched
on our bellies to the edge, our faces
hovered over the Atlantic. Sea-birds froth
below them. All these vacation homes
scattered empty on the Irish coast. Houses full
of nobody. Still, the mournful laid-down
cow follows the bus with her gaze,
and the ice-age long ago dragged
a kind of lattice into the granite
of the Burren. After lunch, you sit behind
- We’re on the wrong side of the bus
to see the geologic remnants
out the window. I crane across the rows,
will sacrifice my dignity to get the picture
every time. The littleness of a moment
makes me desperate
to hold it. After we left the cliffs
rain streaked the bus’s windows.
I turned enough to see
the light ripple across your face.