Antrim after rain

We kill one hundred head of cattle each week
explained the old man sitting back in his chair,
a Presbyterian from the south with an ecumenical constitution and
a paper napkin tucked over his tie so that
crumbs from his cream bun scatter onto the boardroom table.
And pigs to China: tonnes of pork meat to China
in deep sea containers. Frozen pork.
That’s twenty percent of our business now
up from nothing five years ago.
Outside the window fork lifts plug away at a refrigerated warehouse,
it is just after rain and there are puddles on the forecourt
and over the chain fence great Antrim oaks show their green crowns.
I want to make this island safe for my grandchildren.
On the boardroom walls hang photographs of Her Majesty the Queen.
And the Taoiseach, and Ireland’s President so short and kind-looking.
The most beautiful island in the world.
He cried when Theresa May resigned.
I’ll swear on oath I wept
I wrote to her, seated at this very table
I told her I’ll do anything I can to stop the Troubles coming back. And then a story –
when he was an apprentice accountant in Belfast, a senior fellow took him to one side
and confessed he hated only two things in the world: bigotry, and fenians.
And it was a mixed firm!
His eyes fill with tears.
The most beautiful island in the world
and a secretary to pour his coffee,
his Christian heart clogged up with Antrim cream
writing letters to the Prime Minister which have not yet had a reply.

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