When I Land in Northern Ireland

When I land in Northern Ireland I long for cigarettes,
for the blue plume of smoke hitting the lungs with a thud and, God,
the quickening blood as the stream administers the nicotine.
Stratus shadows darkening the crops
when coming in to land,
coming in to land.
What’s your poison?
A question in a bar
draws me down through a tunnel of years
to a time preserved in a cube of fumes, the seventies-yellowing
walls of remembrance, everyone smokes and talks about the land,
the talk about the land, our spoiled inheritance.

from Self-Portrait in the Dark (Picador, 2008), © Colette Bryce 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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