by Edel Burke

It appeared sometime in my teens
on the teak-stained shelf in the sitting room,
A framed photograph of my grandfather
in a Dublin Metropolitan Police uniform,

The spiked helmet foreign to our innocent eyes
A young man, twenty to thirty years,
Left there by my mother in a brazen gesture
An assertion, maybe after a row

Or some insult. Defiant, “I too have a right
to agree a truce, treated on equal terms,
to stand there without threat or fear,
Never again be let down.”