A Slip Jig and Reel in Cut-Time

Cate McGowan Click to read more...

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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