I didn’t expect them, thousands of ochre blooms spread across the hills of the village. Neither did I imagine the houses, eerily quiet streets, and gravestones flooding the main square. Leaving our rented car in the road, we trudge through weeds and turf, struggling through the bulging cemetery. A narrow creek flows loud as drums above the barren brass of the sky, the reedy grass, an echoing harmony of birds. We find a bar at Scott’s Grocery behind a wall of shelves and cooler stocked sparingly with rough brown bread, fresh cheese,and milk. A hallway leads to a dim room where men lean over pints of Guinness dressed in overalls, wool hats tilted down, boots wet with earth and dew. We drink whiskey and beer, observing the unlit fireplace and peeling linoleum floor. My father weaves our history: a man struck by a train; a woman taken by strangers across an ocean; a child baptized in Ireland; a family rooted in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Outside, the sun inches below the hills. A boy kicks a ball against the grocery’s side wall. We speak to him as we leave, warmed somehow by the colorless, staid company of the bar. In the morning we’ll wake early to hot plates of bacon and eggs, black pudding, and fried potatoes in the white tablecloth dining room of our bed and breakfast. We’ll drink coffee and tea, smear black currant on toast, and peruse the news of County Mayo, waiting for a new day to begin.
Kevin O'Connor received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins and his M.F.A. from Old Dominion University. He has published writing in Slant, Anderbo, The Fourth River, Bayou, Bluestem, Literary Juice, The Tulane Review, and The Pinch. He lives in Buffalo.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cover Image: "Spots"