Robert Moses Lighthouse, Long Island

Photo by Mary Christine Delea

God Is An Irishman Living On the South Shore of Long Island

Look at my clams, He says to Himself, they are perfect.

Sometimes, He makes purple sand from oyster shells.

Sometimes, He creates the blue in the bay

for which no word exists.


There are plenty of places to drink here—

Clancy’s, Paddy’s, O’ This and O’ That—

but who has time? Not Him,

hanging around St. Patrick’s in Bay Shore,

still mourning the lost of the movie theater across the street,

now a YMCA. Not that He has anything

against Y’s, of course, but that theater was old, grand,

a perfect complement to this church

of stained glass and Latin.


Once in a while He gets a feeling like a hole

in His chest, makes Him wonder what’s going on in Boston.


When God sighs the bridges to the beaches

shake, the walls of the malls quiver.

All the Our Lady of’s wince

in unison, practice their brogues.

His melancholy can create hurricanes,

a drop in real estate prices, garbage barges

dumping loads too close to shore.


He enjoys the parks, the delis, the few

Irish restaurants buttressed by pizzerias.

But His true love is the beach, schlumping

around the dunes, startling young lovers

secreted behind tall grasses.

Oh, God! they moan,

What will my parents say?

God turns and shrugs, picks up a few shells and

skips them into waves, watching as

they sink all the way down

and then stares across the ocean to home.





Originally published in my 2006 book, The Skeleton Holding Up the Sky,

published by Main Street Press.