The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Lynn McGee

Letting Go on St. Patrick's Day


Brian, whose skull gleams triumphant

after chemo, staggers

out of bed, his white feet lovely.


Brian, who totters guileless as a kite,

is led through cold wind by his own

distended belly, and buoyed down

Seventh Avenue.


Brian, who once stood on a kitchen table

and sang O Danny Boy,

his mother raising another pint,

is caught in the jaws of shellacked

saloon doors.


He is the Mayor of McManus’s Pub.

He waves to strangers who raise

mugs of green beer.

He smears mustard on corned beef,

spears potatoes and boiled cabbage.


He loses his red cashmere scarf.

It slithers beneath our booth,

slips through some trap door

in the dark and we search

on hands and knees, pat the gritty

floor as Brian wheezes

and laughs, Let it go, let it go.




LYNN McGEE is the author of Tracks, a collection of poems that originated on the New York City subway, forthcoming in 2019 from Broadstone Books. She is also the author of Sober Cooking (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016), which looks at online dating, organ transplant season and the months she was banished by her lover’s family, from visiting her in the hospital. She has also written two award-winning poetry chapbooks: Heirloom Bulldog (Bright Hill Press, 2015), which examines extinction and validates the tenacity of invasive species, and Bonanza (Slapering Hol Press, 1996), which looks at childhood, iconic television series and other topics.


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