“Parade Day,” “The Irish Fairy,” and “Little Bird”

“Parade Day,” “The Irish Fairy,” and “Little Bird”

Parade Day

Marching men in uniforms, crisp

Navy-blue shoulders, starchy stiff

Polyester and pins

Bagpipes gasp and gather

The strength to carry the day

From regular to festive

Splashed, always

With pride

Tinged, always

With despondence

As they proceed

I keep up in the back

Black Mary Janes

Plaid skirt and twin braids

I crane my neck to keep track

Of Dad’s navy-blue

Green paper flits

Catches my eye

A dollar bill settles

From air

Onto sidewalk

I dash over quickly –

Excuse me, please  


Reach down and I snatch

Up the note

Not a single

Not a twenty

But a whole fifty bucks?!

I gasp and I call –

Dad! I say and I flash

The prize in my clutch

He turns right away, at the sound of my voice

Sea of blue clothing, matching our eyes

Brows raised and he winks

“Lucky day!” he confirms

And turns back to his men

A fifty you know

Twice as rare as a twenty

And I’ve found three more

Since the day that he left me

The Irish Fairy

Muted and dulling
White, orange and green,
Tiny bit tattered
Proud but she’s fading
Irish flag
Blowing softly
In the New York City breeze

Forgotten beginnings
Grip slowly slips
Irish mother
Irish lover
Hope, a pinprick
Lingering limerick

Tone of voice ringing flat
Tap of feet falling silent
Verdant hills fade from view
Ruddy cheeks pale to white
She hasn’t done it on purpose
But she’s losing the fight

And then, he appears
At night, unexpected
Face twisted in mischief
Hair black and eyes green
He dashes about
Swirls of gold as she sleeps
Splashing magic and history
Across all of her clothes,
Her room, and her toes
And he cleans out the cupboard,
A ravenous creature
Replenishing his wild
With crackers and crisps,
Cured meats and root vegetables
Red berries and sweets
Dark whiskey and neat
Belly full,
Fairy dusted
His work here is done

As he twitches his nose,
He disappears into smoke
And she wakes feeling rested,
Returned to herself
She fixes the flag
And a mug of hot tea
She turns up the music
Her lips in a whistle
A twinkle and wink
She laps up the magic, the glittery dust
And feeds some to her babies
They gobble it up

Little Bird

You grin up at me, from two hurried feet
See me Mama? I’m fast!
Misting gray rain blurs my vision
Inviting frustration
That I tamp down
Down, further and further and squashed
And now you’re squashing bugs
Muddy clothes
I’m thirsty Mama, and you run
You’re going too fast, you scrape your knee
My nerves scrape at my chest
At the sound of your cries
And I want to cry too, for my Mom to come help
Give us Band-aids
And popsicles
A bath
I want to be weak
But I have to be strong
Trapped in love with you
There’s nowhere I’d rather be
And also, everywhere
I kiss your forehead
And your knee
I am so proud to be yours
To be the first one to see
The wings sprout out of your back
To bear witness to your word
So luckily stuck
Magical, maddening
Little bird

About the Author

Grace McCaffrey

Grace McCaffrey lives in New York City with her husband, their young son Finn and sweet dog, Moxie. Grace works in business development and has been writing poetry and fiction since her early twenties. She is new to publishing her work.