In Yorkshire schoolyard scuffles North and South
mimicked the Mason-Dixon line. Each word
of mine raised up a Southern flag; my mouth
pronounced my childhood’s sentence. Undeterred,
I cherished those long vowels, the consonants
in their clipped uniforms, a loyal crew
whose service had once earned me compliments
and them my bond, no matter where I flew.
Beyond concern now: oceans, years and miles
divide me from that Northern mining town;
I sound as if I’m from the British Isles,
which spot precisely, not worth pinning down.
My accent—passport, baggage, hard won waters—
simply an heirloom I can’t will my daughters.
Published by The Lyric, 2008