‘Before Epiphany, 1946’ by Nikki Magennis

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
and afterwards

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.