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Summer, 2011 / No. 26

I come from Brixham summers: jellied eels on the beach,

swing boats, donkeys, knickerbockers glories.

I come from a steelworks belching out fire and

ten brave neighbours molten metal dead.

I come from Sunday drives in the Scimitar,

homemade skirts we princess-spread on seats.

I come from the fat-crackle of Mabel’s fish ’n’ chips

ordered with our chins on the greasy counter and

eaten bare-kneed beside hairy aunts in the sun.

I come from unsuccessful pets: howling setters,

biting rabbits, budgies found feet-up, baby birds

roasting in the rear window on a July afternoon.

I come from a joyful getting lost on Haworth Moor

waist-high in purple heather, every time we

did those hikes and afterward, Heinz baked beans

and Marmite thick-spread on a Hovis loaf.

I come from raging earache, deafness needle-sharp,

a whip-scarred father, endless twilight longing,

Romany persecution and five transplanted miners,

set down in a far-off minefield, sepia-photo dead.