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by Joanna Ezekiel

I picture you, on his winning nights

as he upturns boxes of julabies


that curl like sticky heaps of question marks

asking for the chance of one of his smiles.


Shaken awake beneath a roulette moon

you join your mother, brothers, sisters, him


under the single kerosene lantern.

Your job to stay behind, clear up the crumbs.


I can only bring you small gifts each time:

an embroidered card for this, your birthday.


Take it: this is yours to keep forever.




by Joanna Ezekiel, from Homecoming (£7.99, £2.99 Kindle)

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