The staff of life for my ancestors who had to escape the famine
imposed by their would-be masters who forced the choice
to stay home and die or go elsewhere,
potatoes are in a mesh bag in the lower cabinet
a cool dark dry place, protected.
I will too easily forget them if I don’t eat them soon.
I was handed down a hunger for the flavor and sustenance
the sense of a comfort and safety that warms the body
lifts and evens mood
nourishment with butter, salt
and the character of music and hearty laughter
I was handed down a hunger
for love and kindness that makes life fulfilling.
So here’s to the Irish
and a background to be thankful for
and here’s to the success of the migration
and wishes for good health and happiness
to friends and loved ones now from every walk and way.
And if I do forget the potatoes in the cabinet
As it is with the deepening of love they will grow roots, not rot;
As it is with the watchful and wise they will grow eyes, not moldy spots.
Unless I leave them there just too darn long.