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First, the ting-clang comforting din

of companion set with shovel

tuned to the scrape of grate and bucket then

fold, roll, wrap, tie, tuck it with sticks, with coal

till the glow of broadsheet rosettes

cast a news flash for the era

and headlines despatched themselves

from the hearth

immaculate hearth of the fire altar

lit by my mother, high priestess of the house

who, standing back decreed

that coal’s more like Slack, must speak to the coalman

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