by Neil Donnelly
Uncle Eddie, large head, black hair,
who until that moment, in an open
box in a house on Cider Avenue, Belfast,
looking healthy on that cold black
January day, I had never met.
Milltown burial, white gloves,
black hats, undertakers’ small pockets,
red cheeks, black ties. Afterwards,
back in Cider Avenue, food, music,
jokes, laughter, long tears.
Cousins newly met, nasal
buzz saw accents, all warm, out
to Comber; Strangford Lough from
the bathroom window. He was a bit
of a gambler, my father said.
His daughter married a famous
singer; his son became a drummer.
Etched in memory that drive north,
black coats, meeting cousins for the first
time; January 1967, when all seemed