As we were driving to our vacation on Plum Island, in the flooding rains on May 13th, a rich voiced baritone was singing Irish ballads on the radio station WGBH Celtic Sojourn. We passed a serious accident where a black car had rolled into the median strip and was laying on it's side. Everyone was quite shaken and we were snailing along highway 495. The traffic looked like a big wet slug. A state cop had just arrived and was on his tip toes peeking into the drivers side window. I was praying, keening and brimming full of Irish music love. Then on our way back from our weeks vacation we had three hours of Irish music to bring us home. The music took us up and down. Between weeping and laughing, out of joy, I was notably moved.
I think that's when this story began to take is ghostly form:
The Keening Reel
“I can put the image on your arm.”
“No. I want them nestled between my breasts,” Maighread insisted. It was about the dead. She was always a little in love with death.
A sharp pin is not so different from a razor and a cutting hunger.
“Why do you want the image of a woman kissing a skull,” he asked.
“Shut up,” she bemoaned.
The picture wrinkled in her clutched hand. She had promised herself she would endure the physical pain and no longer the psychological. Transferred from her heart to her skin, she would wear the agony on the outside now.
“No longer haunted by you!” she whispered under her breath, “everyone will be able to see what you look like and wonder. Then you’re on the skin of their eyes and crawling into their minds. You will no longer have power over me.”
As the inked pin danced over her milky skin the transference began. She could feel a blue sadness and old ache deep inside for her sister dear on the day they had slipped her young body into the waters off the lurching ship. Into your bony arms and held by your greedy lipless kiss she had been commenced. Many a night in the fluidity of dreams she could see them both stepping across the water’s surface only to have the Gulf of St. Lawrence yawn open and swallow her flushed feverish body. As if the dance had worn her sister out and your embracing bones did take her down to rest in your bed of sand.