Meenala, County Donegal

For Annie and Ted Deppe

We slept in the house like birds
nestled on a ship’s mast, waves
of wind rocking us, buffeting
back and forth, as the windows
throbbed and drinking glasses
teetered toward toppling —
or did I dream that, nested
as I was in the bed’s deep
billow, and not driving, not
white-knuckled on narrow lanes,
hard packed ruts where sheep settled
in sleep, where fuchsia hedges
loomed in headlights — no little
hothouse plants from home hung in
baskets, but huge shrubs hiding
the road’s drop, so to veer off
would burst a rain of blossoms
onto the rental car’s ruin.
Adrift in bed, loose, listing
toward sleep, I saw those woolly
ewes holding the road in place,
then swarmed by wind, swirling up
into clouds — everything up
in bright fluff, blossomy gusts.
We woke in the downy roost
our friends made for us, sleep-
tumbled by that air ocean’s
bluster and roar. So this is
a gale, we said. But, no, no,
nothing near that force, they grinned.
We wondered then, what they knew
of a breath that could batter
doors to unhinging, hammer
and bang at windows, wanting in —
some kind of wild spirit-shove
turning the world inside out.

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