Before Epiphany, 1946
When the war was a ragged tail
and we were lost far to the north
in the open prison of midwinter
the laird showed his kindness
and invited us to dinner at the castle.
We dressed like actors
in borrowed shirts and coal-black coats
that did not keep out the cold
– but oh we looked wonderful
walking through a long avenue
of rhodedendrons, going to
eat meat at a huge, curved table.
Deer heads hung above us, with eyes
as dark as my mother’s. We had plum pudding
sat, cigarettes in hand, mouths full
of remembered taste, and the smoke rose
like a disintegrating white flag.
Nikki Magennis is a writer and artist from Scotland. Her first pamphlet is forthcoming from Red Squirrel Press in 2014.