Nebraska Center for Writers

by David McCleery

— for Caitlin

In the dark house,
the uilleann pipe rides in my lap,
a body small and warm in my arms,
the bag of hide tight, fragrant as any flesh Id wish to hold.

I play a Lament and call the years through me.
Lean into the chanter,
as the thin reeds open like small mouths
to take the milk of the song.

The uilleann pipe opens out into the dark room,
the plaintive cry opens me too,
and I think of my daughter, twenty today,
and how I once held her in a room like this,

singing to her late at night, in darkness,
feeding her milk through a bottle,
her body warm and breathing in my arms,
her thin arms reaching up toward my song.

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2003
by David McCleery

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