I Know Their Footsteps
By Tom Kelly


"I know their footsteps"
(Alden Nowlan)

Granny Kelly's blue-grey proggy mat
ripples in front of the coal fire,
my unmarried uncles beeing around,
as if it's July not Christmas,
smelling of debt and loss.

This fake, jolly air makes me feel nervous,
a lone child crossing a too-busy road,
it won't go away, even now. Granny's home
a working class museum:
deep maroon brocade tablecloth,
toilet paper, precise squares of newspaper,
curled-lip of brown canvas in the kitchen,
sweating dank coal-house.

I am inches away from them,
not sharing their Merry Christmas.



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