Academic journal article Antipodes

Requiem

Academic journal article Antipodes

Requiem

Article excerpt

for Michael Joseph Quigley

When your duct-taped binoculars

And the dusty green corduroy cap

You bought in Ireland arrived

Smelling of your veggie patch

In a package from Australia,

Your grandson tried it on and found

It a perfect fit. His mother

Claimed the items from your car

Where they rested after use

On the last day of yout life.

His sister broke the news by email

Just minutes after his parents

Called her from the hospital

He was born in, telling her you died

Of heart failure. One day before,

You were digging in your garden.

Your son-in-law, a lapsed Catholic,

Called the priest to serve the final rites.

Your grandson would have boarded the first flight

Home if his first child wasn't due within days.

The day before you died,

When he read his dad's email

Stating you had been hospitalized,

He knew you would die

Before you could hold his child.

His wife entered the room

And found him unable to speak.

Choking back sobs, he staggered

Into the bathroom pointing dumbly

At the open message from home.

She hugged him as he sat on the toilet

And wept for the first time in seven

Years of marriage. The expatriate

Nightmare was finally upon him.

He was ten thousand miles away

When they played "Danny Boy"

And the congregation wept.

Someone else carried his corner

Of the coffin when his father,

Brother, uncles, aunt and cousin

Carried you out of St. …

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