Poems and Poetry

Alleys and Obits | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

I started reading the paper
early in grammar school
to find the sports scores.
It was fun for a child
hoping to play
a sport some day.

After the scores
I had to read the obits
for my father to see
if anyone from Ireland
living in Chicago
had passed away.

He’d get home filthy
from working in alleys
and ask me if I’d found
anyone in the obits
that he might know.

Sometimes I had a name
and sometimes not.
Sometimes he’d say
he knew the person
and sometimes not.

I didn’t realize it then
but appreciate it now
that he had me read
the obits as a child so
I’d be ready for college.
He often said reading
was like breathing.

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