An excerpt from

by Mary Dalton


I was out beating the path,
On the look-out for that fella
The whole of the salt-riddled summer.
Next thing there'll be a puff-up,
My brother grumbled.
I was hungry for signs:
Tore the petals off a ton of daisies,
Hunted for a hammer's shape
In egg-white drifting in water,
Spied out his initials in the
Curling of apple peels.
And all the time him romancing the three of us.
Well, miss, said my mother,
Christ was a carpenter's son,
But that one's the devil incarnate.

The Jillicker

He was the best jillicker in the harbour--
In the long run, they said, he'll make his mark--
An arm like that on him, and a brain to match--
Now he's just another drunken uncle--
You can set your clock by him in all weathers,
Sashaying down over the Big Meadow,
Thumbs in his belt-loops, cock of the walk,
Set to trade cuffers, for a few smokes and a beer.