our granddad fought the Germans but I battled through lunches

my bloodline gathered in the kitchen      uncles with 5 o’ clock

shadows mistake me for schoolgirls they lured with pocketmoney

& promises          I pull myself together in their pipe smoke

arrange tins of beans in jaunty pyramids                 kick shins of cousins

beneath the table               their tree bark cheeks ruddy         passing the sauce

as past lives lurch across history’s headland           victories chipper & hard-won

I want to start fires in the bathroom         wear the alley like a cat in heat

upend the garbage            take off my clothes           swear like a trooper

slice my thumb with the carving knife    mop the blood with my bread

but I please&thankyou my way through dessert

impossible            the things we don’t say to one another

stewing like spoilt fruit & cream

Rebecca Faulkner

Rebecca Faulkner is a London-born poet and arts educator based in Brooklyn. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Solstice Magazine, Smoke Magazine, Wild Roof Journal, Pedestal Magazine, The Maine Review, SWWIM, CV2 Magazine, On the Seawall, Into the Void, and other journals. She has been anthologized in the Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021, was a finalist for the 2021 Foster Poetry Prize, and the Jack McCarthy Book Prize. Rebecca was a 2021 Poetry Fellow at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Leeds, and a Ph.D. from the University of London.

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