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After shifts we turned beds of an overgrown paddock,
cut silence with stones we lobbed at factory cats and
Mum stared at Dad staring where his Dad knelt in Spring.

After shifts I watched my Dad take deep breaths by the gate,
looking for the son in himself so he could play as sky broke,
and he broke, with half price bread that smelt of turmeric.

After shifts Jagdish stopped moaning how black he felt
when Dad patted snowmen black till his hands burnt
walking into headlights like a poor man’s James Dean.

After shifts a klaxon shot birds over our rooftops and we drank
those cups of grass where redstarts sang the lyric of factories from.
One night the snow stopped but the song carried on till dawn.

After shifts I wanted to be like my Dad and bend things with fire
but something made the snowman collapse into itself whilst smiling,
it was a bit like all of us that winter in nineteen eighty four.

Antony Owen
Illustration Nick Victor

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