Mary Robinson


You wear the key on a cord near your heart,
longing to return to the door you locked
in the place where the fields called you by name,
the streams chattered companionably and orchards
blossomed in the vernacular.
Your words are desolate as a derelict house.
The key, so far from the lock it fitted,
rusts with silence. Crossing the border it slips
from your neck.

Streets clatter in nonsense syllables,
tower blocks babble in gibberish.
To buy bread you must piece together
the market’s small-talk, the city’s crowded gossip,
distinguish a curse from a blessing.
But when you hear your children playing
in another tongue you know you have found
a door you can unlock, a language
in which to dwell.


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