Ardmona Gardens, Turf Lodge

The rain slows for the first time all day,
we stand opposite the Cultúrlann,
on the Falls road. Agitated,
you speak of your worry for the car
and where it’s parked. It’s not the car -
you’ve had your fill of this place.
We make the trip
to what was your family home
in Ardmona Gardens.
Don’t slow down here, Shaz, you order.
We take in as much as we can from the Toyota.
I try to capture it on the phone,
but it’s blurred and I’m left with a photo
of an armoured car and a Republican mural
down the road in Ballymurphy.
We are strange sort of tourists,
trying to piece together our history,
imagining this place before the changes;
the school you went to on Colinward street,
the mill stack when industry still lived,
your original house, a prefab in Beechmount Bungalows,
the death of your mother who we never met,
Charlie disappearing up the Black Mountains
before resurfacing in London,
the scattering of you all one, by one, away from Belfast.
We don’t ask you, our father, the details
of your last days here before moving down south.

Lisa McAree