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By Lani O'Hanlon

That was the year we drove

into the commune in Cornwall.

“Jesus Jim,” mam said,

“back up quick they’re hippies.”


Through the car window,

tents, row after row, flaps open,

long-haired men and women

curled around each other like babies


and the babies themselves

wandered naked across the grass.


I reached for the handle, ready, almost,

to open the door, drop out and away

from my sister’s aggressive thighs,

Daddy’s slapping hands.


Back home in the Dandelion Market

I unlearnt the steps my mother taught,

bought a headband, an afghan coat,

a fringed skirt — leather skin.


Barefoot on common grass I lay down with kin.


Source: Poetry (March 2018)

Poet Bio

Lani O’Hanlon is the writer in residence at Molly Keane Writers Retreats and reader in residence with Waterford Libraries. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award.

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