Relatives Assisting

Michael D. Higgens
A room in the house and
A seat in the car to Mass, That was the promise in Wills Made to look after those
Who did not travel, but chose instead To ride High Nelly bicycles to Church On Sundays, where they knelt
In the women's aisle, and listened To visiting missioners thunder about The sins of the flesh, and how Queen Elizabeth had died,
Rolled in a ball in agony, screaming For the True Church. It was too late, Of course, and it was a good feeling For even a little while to be pure.
The Child of Mary medal was a consolation And would travel with them
To the grave. And in the room guaranteed
You could prepare your black and save shillings From sales of eggs and butter for porter
At your wake. "Relatives Assisting,"
They called you on the forms.
You had no acres, no lovers, no children, But you had what was more important,
A room in the house and
A seat in the car to Mass,
And in the meantime, your High Nelly bicycle And your prayers.
Page 19, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 28