Tara Saunders

For Ailbhe

by Tara Saunders

Dorchadas Eve they stood festival-watch in their cider-scented kitchen, not knowing it would be their last. Paurig, demanding a man’s share of the watch, standing it with eyes half closed. Ailbhe, curled in her snug of blankets by the hearthfire. Da, standing Paurig’s watch while the man-child snored and never saying a word. Ma, who kept plates overflowing and mugs filled, and who sat her own watch besides. And Murra, dragging through the festival all forlorn, preferring to watch for boys instead of Fiach.