“Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run”
When Iris snatched the paper
and began to recite,
if I’d closed my eyes,
she could have been my London
toward oblivion with nothing
but those British vowels intact.
Was Iris also born in a Brixton
terraced house, the privy
outside, the tiny fenced-in
garden unlikely host
to the showy blooms
for which her mother
named her? She can’t say how
she came to cross the ocean.
Transatlantic Iris tells me
a sailor lover read her this poem.
Her lies are a truth she’s at home with,
now everywhere is foreign.
I don’t belong here, she says,
crushing the words in her fist,
then opening her hand like a flower.