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.