The Man Who Planted Plastic Flowers

A Portrait of my ‘Biological’ Father

Transplanting himself from a terrain,
fertile with the secular and sectarian,

Patrick grafted himself to new rootstock.
Wooden markers codified his habitat.

The leithris, decorated with dolls in
crocheted crinolines, daintily hiding

loo paper, blue as his humourless jokes;
the cistin where cabbages, market purchases,

were boiled to an unedifying mulch.
He sowed wild seeds, tended by others,

while he watched his garden bloom with artifice,
decorated with low maintenance plastic flowers.

Karen Barton

*Leithris is Gaelic for toilet
*Cistin is Gaelic for kitchen