Northwords Now

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Isle of Harris, 1967

by Belinda Jennet Weir

There are better ways to peel a potato.
But this is the way you showed me
Forty-five or fifty years ago
when we were camping by the sea
on Harris, and the others had gone swimming,
in Woolworths’ masks and flippers.
I was too young to dive with seals
but just old enough to be shown
how to gouge out eyes with a peeler,
scrape the green bits off and
pare a muddy strip of skin in one stroke
from top to bottom.
Now as I stand at the kitchen sink
clutching the rusty cord-bound peeler
and dropping potatoes into cloudy water
I wish you had taught me how to dive.

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