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Jar of Sweets
Shelves and shelves
and ladders to climb,
a broad wooden counter,
a silver scoop for sugar
to be packed
in strong brown paper
bags, loaves wrapped
in newspaper, bread
shaped like the back seat
of a car
and once, like a monkey,
climbing high
to put my hand inside
the jar of Irish Roses.

Red-handed, shame felt
like my stomach was being
taken out, when my mother
called caught you.
But there was
no punishment,
instead she told me
how when she was a child
in her mother’s shop
she took a broom,
swiped the high shelf
and knocked a jar
of acid drops to the ground.

That’s where she was
found, down among
the broken glass
and sweets.
It could have been
the broom
and the fact that she was
far bolder than me,
but I couldn’t help believing
that my mother was
some kind of a witch.