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Don’t speak to the Brits, just pretend they don’t exist


Two rubber bullets stand on the shelf,
from Bloody Sunday – mounted in silver,

space rockets docked and ready to go off;
like the Sky Ray Lolly that crimsons your lips

when the orange Quencher your brother gets
attracts a wasp that stings him on the tongue.

‘Tongue’ is what they call the Irish language,
‘native tongue’ you’re learning at school.

Kathleen is sent home from the Gaeltacht
for speaking English, and it’s there

at the Gaeltacht, ambling back
along country roads in pure darkness

that a boy from Dublin
talks his tongue right into your mouth,

holds you closely in the dark and calls it
French kissing (he says this in English).

From: The Whole & Rain-domed Universe , Picador, 2014

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