My People

Anna Conway, Contributor. 

My People


My people come from pill boxes

half swear, half don’t

They come from white

rockets and pretty blue boats, they come from

shut windows and learning to say what

trouble was and what trouble does


My people don’t talk about feelings and wear

anger like a wet rag ON their temple

Some pray, some go to church twice a year or

twice a day. They carve pretty pictures on

their skin for pretty women.


My people say things like the Our Father

and close that door in a language claimed as

their own, but never use it to talk about

the things they love


My people don’t gather much


Factory workers with half an arm caught in

in belts, a taxi man working two jobs, bar workers

sales and offices rubbing bone against bone —

stay at home women in loose fitting clothes


My people don’t ask for anything.

My people ask for too much.

They call the weather man a bastard —

he smiles and waves and wears freshly pressed

suits. They pull fingers from rings and give

twenty salutes


Birth sheets, trauma, blood,

spit, birthdays, cards; they are the honey

that sucks on my body, they are sandpaper

communion tablets —

tentacle embraces


Dreamed about children and

disappointments, missed appointments,

stroke upon stroke

Choking me,

Like air,

Like smoke.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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