A Slip Jig and Reel in Cut-Time

Cate McGowan Click to

Cate McGowan is the author of the collection, True Places Never Are (Moon City Press, 2015), winner of the Moon City Press Short Fiction Award. A Georgia native whose flash is anthologized in W. W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International, she’s contributed to many publications, including Glimmer TrainCrab Orchard Review, and Vestal Review. McGowan’s currently pursuing a PhD in philosophy.

Daddy dogs with the coal boys,
clocks the loose-planked floor
with his boot. Resin dust rises,
gambols to “Jayman’s Stomp.”
The bodhrain beat time for
the generations, while ghosts
of fiddle and pennywhistle
do-si-do in the lamplight.

History’s crackled record
is mine now, with its patchy verses.
The needle taps on the player,
gavottes a Georgia reel, skips
through. I inherit the two-step
tune on the tin speakers,
and the Bremer polka bops
out the open window.

Tonight, Daddy’s frets slide
to me across the shadows,
and I clog in 9/8 time,
hum from the dark side of the door.

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