★ ★ ★ ★


The Gap in the Wall

The ghost of Behan staggered into the pub
and took a seat beside me. Graciously
We greeted him with cheers of whiskey sweet
and talk of Gaels worth justice wrought with pike.
Then came in Emmet, red hand, pockets full
of barley, sword by side. “Join our table,”
as Behan offered a wink and a glass. We prayed
for hill and vale victories countrywide:
A nation once again! “A curse on crowns
and Cromwell, damn them all to Hell and back,”
was echoed ’round the table. Bitterness
filled room, then minds, then hearts. From out the grave,
advanced more bold United Men who fought
and died for Ni Síochán Go Saoirse*.

So here I sit a Houlihan**, myself
of turf and stone, with Mangum, Cuchulain,
and O’Neil. I did not give brass buttons
to loved ones before the Royal Ulster Constabulary
tossed my body in lye, I did not starve with Sands
in The Maze, no noose was slipped around
my neck for any words my fingers penned.
Do I deserve a parting glass?

* No peace until independence
**My maiden name is Houlihan

A Lost Ship

You should have dreamed small,
Charley Clusker. You boasted
of masts in the Mojave Desert,
of engraved swords, skeleton crew.
All you needed was time and you would
reveal Spanish galleons tossed far
by storms. With the shovel loads
that would excavate a crow’s nest
and broken spyglasses,
you envisioned your photo and story
in national newspapers.
With the bowsprit, you heard your name
memorized for grammar school tests.

But the Santa Anas stirred,
picked up speed and sand,
conjured giant dust devils.
The sands buried ship
and fame-seeking braggart.
At least that is my theory
of why lost ships should
remain lost.

Lisa Stice is a poet/mother/military spouse who received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of a poetry collection, Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016). You can find out more about her and her publications at and

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