The Homecoming

Tom Muldoon

He lay on the ground, panting and shaking, like a distressed athlete after a marathon run. 

Some welcome, some homecoming, he thought.

A returning emigrant, he had been looking forward to this visit to his old home, the land of his birth, after so many years abroad.

They had been waiting for him. They knew he was coming, these cruel deceitful people who had lured him to his death which now came swiftly with a sharp rap of the priest to the base of his skull, severing his spinal cord. 

His obituary was written the following day.

“A gourmet’s delight

The first wild salmon of the season, hollandaise on the side”.

Biography

Tom Muldoon (August 4 1938-April 26 2020) was born in Castleblayney Co Monaghan. He received scholarships to attend St Macartin’s secondary school and later University College Dublin where he obtained a degree in engineering.  He spent his career in the ESB involved in the development of the service nationwide.  In the later stages of his career he worked with ESB International in Ghana for many years  again developing their electrical infrastructure.  Tom died after a short illness at the height of the COVID19 restrictions.  We didn’t know our father as a writer.  Alone with our loss, without the usual family and friends, it was a treasure to find this as it epitomizes much about him. His sense of fun, and fair play and his connection to Ireland and Irish culture.  He would be delighted to see it published and we hope others enjoy it.

The Muldoon Family

Tom Muldoon

Carry Me Out to the Open Sea

By Kayla Latta

I lie on the sand, and I think of my mother 

brushing my hair. Each stroke through my curls coincides 

with the crashing waves around my body. My scalp aches at the memory 

while my skin prickles from the rush of cold water and salt. I wish she were here, 

so she could wipe away the bits of seaweed and sand, the way she used to clear 

the sleep from the corners of my eyes. With each new wave, my body 

is coated in another layer of salt until I am encrusted. Crystallized. 

###

When the tide comes in, I am carried out to the open sea. 

I float into the night like driftwood, or shipwrecks, or a heavy sigh 

released from heavy lips. Perhaps I will be taken to the edge of the world 

and fall right off. Hic sunt dracones. Here be dragons. I pray to the cold-water 

moon to bring me home. Push, pull, mother of tides, be my guide. Be my guide.

I hear her with the dawn. Quiet at first. Now louder. When she calls my name,

 my shell breaks into pieces that fall into the darkness below. There she is, 

tiny on the distant shore, still calling for me. I swim to her. 

To Boldly Go

By Eve Taft

Little blue-green terrarium spins 

Goldilocks distant from atom-smashing ball of heat

Which whirls through the void, carrying with it the eight 

Who depend on its life-giving brilliance

It carries them through the suburb of a starry city 

Build around a hole in the universe

Insatiable, tiny bipeds explore 

Little blue-green terrarium

And then tilt their heads upwards 

They go flying through the dark matter

Searching for new stars and new life

They play capture the flag with their moon

And send out glass eyes to find light

From the beginning of everything

Infinite universe keeps getting bigger

Tiny bipeds magnify its building blocks

And map its edges 

They write stories about the shapes of the stars

And study them, writing libraries worth of knowledge

Blue-green terrarium spins on

And tiny bipeds boldly go

Where no one has gone before

Thank You For Loving Me

by Matt Fitzgerald

He remembered when they first met—

And how her eyes jumped over to him.

And when he saw beyond them,

And she beyond his,

He slipped his arm into hers.

Then one day she closed her eyes and left time in the dark.

Left him alone again.

Veiled undertakers scanned for the fine edges of grief.

Their eyes engaged with his

And clung to him like spores and were away again

As half-formed thoughts.

He saw them to the door.

They lifted her, close-eyed and steady, into the hearse.

No traffic, no after-traffic smell, no cramped streets, no …

Her coffin was framed by the kitchen window.

Then, in the quiet place, he heard what he always missed:

A fat hairy-bellied bee dancing and dithering on the pane.

He cupped it in his hands and felt its wings, its life, beat against his skin,

Felt its legs—plump with pollen—slip into his old lifelines.

He put it back and it slept for a while and died.

He thumbed his palms and said he was sorry. 

The summer stars careened above him 

As he made his way to the cemetery,

Sloshing through the cratered mudholes.

A flock of birds rose up before him and down again.

He squatted to her in the early morning gloom.

Then he stretched out and propped one heel over the other

And he thanked her for loving him. 

No alt text provided for this image