Ross Gowland

Ancestor Coeliac

Ross Gowland

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‘In cases of coeliac disease the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them.’ NHS Choices

If I close my eyes hard enough

it will be nineteen sixteen,

nervous men will surround me.

I will be naked in Flanders

and they will tear me apart

ancestor by ancestor.

I will feel the pain

interrupting me always,

the bread will fallow

our organs will contract

allergen, intestines


strewn and content

in the shallow under-garments

the spice of the battle,

water for his kidneys

gluten for my stomach.

In the shell hole we will apply

together, in the next life.

Ross Gowland

Ross Gowland was born and raised in Sunderland in the North East of England. He completed an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2016. Ross is interested in family history research and is currently crafting a novel, a historical ghost story set during the Great War.