& family is a pot of boiling ham
the kitchen, a gossip magazine from Clery’s
& her mammy arranges hope like a vast field
of Easter Lilies
Daddy is a lighthouse
his smile signals safety from the back of a bar
& there is comfort in the sound of her siblings
filing orderly like the sound of rain on the
River Liffey in an autumnal evening
all of them waiting for their tea
a Bodhran keeps time to all of their heartbeats
ruffling hair with a pound note
but none of them ever leaving the street.
a wooden confessional is a tinder box of childish imagination
a girl, alone with the baggage of parental expectation is
creating faux sins & being given an audience of
hail Mary’s full of grace
her shoes & pockets full of desire to escape
the vestigial gaze of rows of penguin-clad sisters
& where in all this might her knees find rest?
away from small streets of Cabra
& in the belly of a ship
ascending the stem of a rose
looking back at the land of saints and scholars
smiling with her eyes & cheeks to her siblings
with her palms open embracing change.
If she could put you anywhere
she would place you in stone on Broom Bridge
etching names with youthful abhorrence
for history & in place of division,
adolescence brighter than floodlights,
horses would stand & charge pathways
as wide as the shadow of a church
as intricate as Temple alleyways
& everything that ever happened on
both sides if the sea would be gathered
like a worldly storm
& placed in a teacup warming only her hands.
Stevie Kilgour is a PhD student, researching Working-class poetry at the University Hertfordshire. Originally from a council estate in Bedford and from a British & Irish family, he now lives in Yorkshire with his partner Sarah and daughter, Holly Nola. Follow him on Twitter @steviejkilgour
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