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50 years
at the cutting edge
of poetry publishing

Chrissie Gittins, from Armature

Spanish Dolls

They were attached at the back of their heads,
a twist of black wool sewn into their soft pink skulls —
cotton-covered flat-footed dancers
dangling from my fingers.

Her tiered flounces, white spots on red,
vied with his rufflette shirt,
his wide-brimmed felt black hat.
Her black boots ran half way up her calves,
both clutched polished castanets.
Their smiles were pushed sideways in stitches,

My white chest of drawers was wedged
across the corner of my room.
There they stood, in the company
of other couples — from Holland, France, Moldavia.

I left the Spaniards on a bus.

No amount of phone calls to Lost Property
turned them up. Their destiny —
to ride via Rochdale, Walmersley,
Ainsworth and Heap Bridge.
To fandango in the foothills of the Pennines,
jota between high-stacked market stalls,
seguidilla in the playground on a saint's day.

For holidays we went to Wales.
'Get to know your own country,' said Dad.