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featured poet, Valerie Bridge

Valerie Bridge photo

Borrowing

Mother says we lisp,
but we don’t think so,
we can say, black soap
white soap, weasel.
 
She says mediterrinain:
we say the same, at school.
They turn to laugh at us,
we smile back; change,
 
keep a voice for home:
it belongs with Schnitzel,
rye bread, Knödel.
Friends read Heidi.
 
How could we have said, mother
adopted that name: Jadviga Rosina,
was stamped on her papers,
behind five metre wired barbs?
 
We weren’t told. Didn’t invite friends back,
shielded accent, rage; invented goats.
She said, I am always twenty-one,
if anyone wants to know.
 
We did not ask her to
explain: she’d only have said,
I told you already, I borrowed
you an English surname.
 

Valerie Bridge

in collection A Somersault of Doves, 2013, George MannPublications,
ISBN 978-1-9076401-2-4