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Johnny's Wake

Mourners stood in clumps outside the wake house. They smoked under a full moon the colour of blood spilled in anger.

To corncrakes’ calls, neighbours dissected the life of the deceased seeking to interpret this omen. Widowed young, he left his weans with relatives while he navvied in England, coming home for a week in summer and Christmas to see the family he hardly knew.

He was one of thousands of Paddies rebuilding post-war Britain. No ’ealth and safety, he laboured for cash in hand until his body broke.

He was a nobody. Yet the moon turned red when he died.



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