She was proudly Irish
But never spoke of
the strife at home
Julianne married Tim, many
years her senior, and
sailed away from Cobh Harbor.
Sailed away from village life, work
in her father’s pub, and the nuns
who tied her hand behind her back
to cure her of the sin of being
Ellis Island – or the Hell Hole – as
she told it.
Endless train ride
across this wide country
and a strange new town in Washington State.
The babies came. Some
didn’t make it.
Endless meals to prepare on the wood cook stove.
Four children in a one-bedroom house.
Later – grandbabies to care for.
Later – burying her Tim.
There were some good times, teaching step
dancing in the parish halls.
But, always . . .