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EITHNE HAND

 

 

Eithne Hand

 

Eithne Hand is from Co Wicklow although she spends most time now in County Sligo. She has been published in The SHOp and The Stony Thursday Book and was shortlisted for the 2010 Patrick Kavanagh Award.
Her second radio play MAMMYWATCH was broadcast on RTE Radio 1 in December 2011. Click here to listen. (Requires Real Player.)

 

 

 

 

Border Bus 1979

 

Southbound from Belfast I could feel a physical shift before Carrickarnon.

Shuffle of knees tightening, hands snatching handbags, knuckles whitening.

Matches struck. Cigarettes sucked more urgently.

 

We sped up before we slowed down.

 

Though I didn’t have a VCR stashed in a washing powder box in the hold

or whiskey in lemonade bottles in a santa sack, 

knowing that others did—made smugglers of us all.

 

The Customs men boarded, picked on a few football holdalls,

searched one oddly shaped Woolworths bag. Seemed satisfied.

They went out to check around the back.

 

Across the aisle a white South African father and son chatted,

“What are they doing, Dad?”

“I’ll bet they’re looking in the luggage compartments”

 

Now, hardly a word spoken. Locked in our local moment.

The persistent cougher miraculously cured.

Right behind me, knitting needles started to click, click, click.

 

Finally, the slam of locks and voices raised.

The engine revved, indicator lights blinked on.

Relief slowdripped down the steaming windows.

 

“Dad?” came the kid’s voice again,

“Did they find any blacks?”

 

 

©2010 Eithne Hand

 

 

Author Links

 

Eithne Hand poem in Pen Pusher magazine

Know Your Station: radio play directed by Eithne Hand

Hand poem in THE SHOp magazine

 

 

 

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