for my mum, with lines from the traditional song “Loch Lomond”
If we swim to shore,
escape the frame,
we shall not meet again.
Jean Morris, “Sea Dream“
When Scottish blood gives up its ghost, that ghost goes home first, mother,
before it journeys beyond — the Highland Gate’s at Perth, mother.
Potato blight caused famine, there were only oatmeal rations.
Did Scots become thrifty gleaning history of dearth, mother?
Wool roving (sheep shucking) dyed and woven into clan tartans.
For identity, check the kilt strapped about the girth, mother.
Ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road, / And I’ll be in
Scotland afore ye… but Loch Lomond is not Tay’s Firth, mother.
Baa black sheep, dark rumor, our ancestor immigrated to
this continent from prison, came in a convict’s berth, mother.
Scots have the reputation of pinching every penny twice.
For haggis and bagpipes, sheep belly’s pennyworthy, mother.
Grandfather was fond of puns, lowest form of humor. Double
entendre is a frugal fun, it’s not spendthrift mirth, mother.
Below Perth the River Tay is tidal. If Perth is Heaven’s
Gate, do all Scots reincarnate, come back in re-birth, mother?
When I was small you read me poems and taught me to recite them.
I wrote this to thank you for teaching me a Word’s worth, mother.
Laura M Kaminski (Halima Ayuba) grew up in Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently lives in Missouri. She serves on the editorial teams of Praxis Magazine Online (Nigeria) and Right Hand Pointing (USA). Her most recent poetry collection is Anchorhold, and The Heretic’s Hymnal: 99 New and Selected Poems, is forthcoming from Babylon Books / Balkan Press in 2018. More about her poetry is available at arkofidentity.wordpress.com.