The Craic

The willowy girl with Jean Harlow hair


And dimples that wink in Irish soap skin


Starts to vogue in the kitchen.

She’ll be on the tabletop soon enough


Tonight’s craic has begun.

The student old marrieds defend their Lucky Charms


Twin sunburned arms


Hugging their bowls of clovers and wishes


Drowned in blue/pink milk


By that manic leprechaun.

On the musty Summer couch


We sit you and I, there


Like salt water creatures


Flung out of the deep end


It’s harder to stand.

Rrrasp click, Rrrasp click


The Zippo has the attention


All thoughts on ignition


Something, anything — flick it again


Maybe it’s in denial?

Then the creak and the slap


Of the Summer screen door


You’re next to me, no more


Well that sounded final.

I look up to witness, then pause, check in


Wait for her to settle in


But before she digs in


I’m already running.

Bare feet they feel nothing


But air rushing under


Ears hearing nothing but


Breath and heart crash, full thunder — on


Open eyes seeing nothing


But a glimmer of track


Who cares if it’s black


I’ve got the wind at my back.

And then I see you


You turn at the cross


One time it’s been done


For once I have won.

I run by a sidewalk gallery


Ignore the whistles and guffaws


This time I don’t pause


I launch.

Because,


It’ll be a good craic.

— By Robin Harper

A year-round Island resident since 1997, Robin Harper lives in Edgartown with her husband and two daughters. This poem was inspired by one summer night when Robin was 18, the only American sharing a house in Oak Bluffs with 10 students from Ireland.