RETURN TO MY TREES
by ELEANOR LEWIS (Wales)
Issue 1.3 December 2019
i have come back
to the village i swore i would never see again.
i walk into the corner shop on leanord street
and somewhere in the back of my mind
i have an instinct to glance at the till and smile
at sîan’s dad
who works the 9 to 5 every day except sunday
when he hands out tea and biscuits at mass.
but as i pay for my cigarettes and look up,
it is not sîan’s dad.
this place has changed, like me.
but the street still smells the same,
of acid rain and failed maths papers,
of sneezes and hannah’s nan.
the terraced houses wind in a pattern that my feet still remember,
the now-yellow-edged lace curtains pulled tightly shut
as people realise there is an imposter on the street.
i have reached the reservoir, over which there was a rope swing,
but now there are only crows.
i remember watching my friends launch off the edge,
never daring to myself because
mammy will not be happy if she has to bleach your grass-stained socks
and suddenly i am overcome with feelings of
home and contentment and closure.
there is a welsh phrase, “dod yn ôl at fy nghoed”
or “to return to my trees.”
i have returned, trees.
Eleanor Lewis is a 15-year-old student from the Welsh valleys, fighting the nationalism battle and regularly protesting and marching for her country. She cares deeply about poetry, animals, and the Welsh language.