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SHEERS, Owen


Coming home

My mother’s hug is awkward,

As if the space between her open arms

is reserved for a child, not this body of a man.

In the kitchen she kneads the dough,

flipping it and patting before laying in again.

The flour makes her over, dusting

The hairs on her cheek, smoothing out wrinkles.


Dad still goes and soaks himself in the rain.

Up to his elbows in hedge, he works

on a hole that reappears every Winter,

its edges laced with wet wool –

frozen breaths snagged on the blackthorn.

When he comes in again his hair is wild,

and his pockets are filled with filings of hay.


All seated, my grandfather pours the wine.

His unsteady hand makes the neck of the bottle

shiver on the lip of each glass;

it is a tune he plays faster each year.