Cathleen of the Peat Bog gets up,
Heaving herself out of the muck and onto the shoulder of the highway.
300 years she has lain there--
300 years she has slept, not wanting to deal.
Now she's on the move.
Now she faces the SUVs and hybrids and sticks out her thumb,
Praying that it doesn't fall off.
A woman hitching a ride will always get one,
From some married guy named Rick,
Still listening to Boston
And knowing all the words.
It's all new to Cathleen of the Peat Bog.
She asks to be dropped at a chain pharmacy.
The woman at cosmetics recommends Aveeno,
And Colgate whitening.
Cathleen of the Peat Bog leaves with her purchases,
And goes down by the creek behind the strip mall
To clean herself up.
She feels better,
Then realizes she has been wearing the same dress for 300 years,
Not to mention the same panties and bra.
She pitches them into the chain pharmacy's dipsy dumpster
And crosses the highway boldly naked.
Into Lane Bryant she goes,
Pale skin glistening,
Trailing lustrous down her back and shining unabashedly elsewhere,
Stunning the outclassed saleswomen into worshipful silence.
"I want this," says Cathleen of the Peat Bog,
Holding up a green dress with lace all along its plunging neckline.
"Take it," say the saleswomen,
As if speaking to the Queen of Killarney.
Down the street she goes,
Around a bend
And up some steps to a door.
She rings the bell.
She looks so good, so lushly curved and dangerously wise,
That doves land on her shoulders as she waits;
And a falcon on each arm.
A man answers the door and she fixes him with her fabulous green eyes.
He is the son of the son of the son of the--
Well, he is a direct descendant of the son of a gun who broke her heart and left her in the peat bog,
300 long years ago.
His name is Pat.
(isn't it always?)
He is married.
He still listens to Foghat,
And knows all the words to "Slow Ride."
She slaps him a good smart smack,
Though whether for his musical taste
Or for his lineage, is not clear.
Cathleen of the Peat Bog is not finished.
She goes past him,
Birds fluttering as she strides inside;
Half an hour later,
She has stolen his wife.
"May the wind forever be at your back," she says to him on the way out,
Then mutters something else,
And both women laugh.
This has been the story of the cruel and beautiful Cathleen of the Peat Bog,
300 years ago,
Told a man, "It's all right, honey. I understand",
And he believed her.