Donal Mahoney – Stumps in His Cabbage

usDonal Mahoney was nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes. He has had poetry and fiction published in The Galway Review, Revival, ROPES and other publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found at


Stumps in His Cabbage

You would think you would
love a man who died
for you and for everyone else,
even those who will never
know that he did.
But you don’t, not really.

The monks in the choir
you hear on Sunday
sing hymns from the heart.
They make fruitcake all week
stoked by the knowledge
he died for them.

They love him
in a way that you
can only imagine
despite much prayer.
You adore him, however,
as well you should.

You know he’s infinite,
omnipotent, without
beginning or end.
You hold him in awe.
No one commands your
respect more than him.

You follow his will, mostly.
You tell others about him
but the love doesn’t come,
gripped as you are
in tongs that have held you
since childhood

growing up in a house
where a man who worked
long hours, never drank,
put you through school
then went nuclear at dinner
with your mother

when he discovered
“stumps in my cabbage,
lumps in my potatoes,”
a man whose roar rattled
the neighbors and sent
the dog under the bed.

You would think you would
love a man who died
for you and for everyone else.
But you don’t, not really.
You keep trying to love him
and your father as well.


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