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This poem is taken from PN Review 206, Volume 38 Number 6, July - August 2012.

Two Poems Rory Waterman
Ireland, 10

'This is your homeland'. Looking at a row of mountains for the first time in living memory -

a child of sunken Lincolnshire,of flattened vowels and reticence -

 I knew that it was not. And why he wanted it to be.

Those Ireland shirts he'd put me in on access visits! Toddling round a chipped bust of King George III in Lincoln Castle, sporting green,had fractured me. The first house thatI'd known, where he still lived, and drank,no more to me than photographs

until that week. But always my 'other home'. The leafy bank I'd dreamed was there, behind that lens, thick and wild with gooseberries and blackberries, rosehips and thorns,like mum had, was a breezeblock schoolfor Catholic kids with uniforms

and habits that I didn't know, accents, odd names, ginger hair, school holidays at funny times.

I'd watch them through the window, there.

 Then back at school and flooded witha slurry of ineptitudesI'd brag about that 'other home'

and 'other me' - not here, like them -

the Irish me that never was, the bronze-haired friends I never made, the mansion where dad never lived.

 And mourned the loss of all these thingsI'd never had and always had; and grew, estranged from Lincolnshire and desperate to get out of there.

Winter Morning, Connecticut

Your parents' house. Your bedroom full of books and photo albums. Clothes you won't throw out.

The Hepburn calendar, a decade old, silted, faded, skewered to a wall.

The bed you might have shared with other men when they were boys, the bed that went with you to university.

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