Denise Low


Saint Patrick’s Again

Live jazz at El Fresco is one guy, electric plinks,
until he turns off the switch, closes his eyes,

and warbles a boy’ s tenor, wood-flute tones,
pure séance hymns from before Christians.

Rowdies at the bar stop fighting and stare
as seawater washes through the room,

seeping through floorboards to serpent dens.
The chorus stirs spirits from family lore.

Desmond, Big Miller, James MackGehee —
all rise from steerage and sing with the lords.

Two Gates

I look through glass and see a young woman
of twenty, washing dishes, and the window
turns into a painting. She is myself thirty years ago.
She holds the same blue bowls and brass teapot
I still own. I see her outline against lamplight;
she knows only her side of the pane. The porch
where I stand is empty. Sunlight fades. I hear
water run in the sink as she lowers her head,
blind to the future. She does not imagine I exist.