We return home-home for the day,
to pay our respects to another one gone.
On the way down from the funeral,
we pass each other, stop, turn, stare,
recognise childhood friends by their eyes.
When we embrace, our voices echo off stone
like the way our feet used to clatter off concrete pavements
on the race home in full-flight from school.
We played hide and seek at the back of the houses,
tortured Gordon, Tommy-Andy, and Pat,
for 10p mixes of cola bottles, fruit salads, black jacks,
liquorish laces, gobstoppers, false teeth.
Now, we’ve middle age mixes of arthritis, bad backs,
real false teeth. We stand in the street
— the Comanche plain and football field,
reminisce about the craic that Baltic winter,
going out after dark to sit on hay stuffed 10-10-20* bags,
clinging tight to each other as our sled-train-roller-coaster
blasted down the snow-filled hill
of the cratered road.
We talk, watch our children repeat the playtime climb
around the plinth of Séan Mac Diarmada.
No matter what troubles came, and they did,
Séan stood unmoved. His stone eyes fixed
on the hills of home.
*10-10-20: Agricultural Fertiliser used in the 1970s and ‘80s in rural Ireland.
Previously Published in Trish Bennett’s Borderlines Stickleback, Hedgehog Poetry Press,