We’ve been hitching for only a day.
Half a day, really,
just a a mile or so west of an Irish town,
that I can’t remember the name of now.
There was an ancient tower,
near the sea.
To watch for invaders, they said,
offering us tea and cookies and stout and eggs and fish.
I remember a church with an entryway
made of a thousand pebbles
in a meandering pattern.
And the smell of some ancient and mysterious incense burning in every house,
as we walked back from the pub
in the twilight.
We stand at the roadside now,
in the sun, resting against a low stone wall.
A bus stops
and the door swings open.
“Girls, get on, won’t you,”
the driver calls.
We shrug, and reach for the fare.
He waves us past the fare box.
Off we are.
A narrow lane, a narrow bus.
Hedges and stone walls roll past.
Yes, we are American, we answer.
My eyes return again and again to the faces.
The freckles and curls and sly winks and sudden laughter of my cousins
now here, on the bus.
“I’m Irish,” I add.
Chatter, jokes, tea.
We share out our Hersheys kisses.
Cattle and sheep roll past.
Castles and abbeys.
Stories and poems.
Conquerings and rebellions.
Heroes and tragedies.
Harvests and starvings.
Leavings and returnings.
Mists and music.
The skies change,
and a soft rain begins.