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Biscuit Tins


When exotic was a postcard from Brighton,

they kept Polaroids in old tins; snapshots

of crooked, shawled ladies, spines arched


like curlew beaks, barely fused by a prayer

of crumbling bones. Shrinking men

stretched in the glare of a lens,


scaffolded by braces and a spade;

a prodigal son on the other arm clutching

offerings of just raked spuds, caked


in loamy soil and sticks of blush-pink rhubarb.

When sunken cheeks and missing teeth

were relics of resilience, tweed caps framed


their weathered skin, the herringbone weave

shiny from summers gone, when summers

were a miscellany of birdsong, church bells and hawthorn.


The cuttlefish extract of sepia tones softened maps

of ancestral faces, blurred ghostly children on the move.

With sun-streaked hair and berry stained mouths


they scampered off; warm coins clenched in sticky fists,

free as leverets in a scrub of gorse, the air sweet

with honeysuckle blossom.

Lorraine Carey’s poems appear in Magma, Poetry Ireland Review, Prole, New Isles Press, The Honest Ulsterman, One and Panoply. Runner up in The Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition 2022, she has poetry forthcoming in Trasna, Allium and The Alchemy Spoon. Her debut collection is From Doll House Windows (Revival Press)

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