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Picture 10118090, 1970s photograph, image copyright Mary Evans

The Gypsy Gift
by Raine Geoghegan


Do you know someone who’s got the gift? I do, my Aunt Saforella. She was born wiv it and she knows everythin’. When she wakes up she knows what the weather’s gonna be like and whose gonna be poppin’ in for tea, she’ll say ‘Put the kettle on mum, our Evies comin over. My gran rolls ‘er eyes and say’s ‘Whod thought it, my child wiv the Gypsy gift?

Once a week, she yearns a few bob reading tea-leaves, she calls it dukkerin’. She makes the tea, sets the china cups on the table, puts bright red lipstick on and waits fer ‘er first customer. She don’t know it, but I’ve often sat under the table, ‘oldin’ me legs tight and listenin’. She puts on a posh voice and speaks very slowly and softly and I ‘ave a job to keep quiet. She tells the folki all sorts of fings, like the type of mush they’re gonna marry or ‘ow many kids they’ll ‘ave. Once she told a woman that she was gonna come into a lot of money and the old dear jumped up and started runnin’ around the room, shoutin’ ‘I knew it, I knew it, me lucks gonna change.

At night when I’m in bed, I ‘ear ‘er makin’ strange sounds, as if she’s speakin’ in a foreign language or perhaps stuck down a drainpipe. I ‘ear granny callin’ out ‘Go tsleep Saforella, for cryin out loud. In the mornin’ I says to ‘er, ‘You dont alf make some funny sounds in your sleep, Aunt Saforella. She puts ‘er cup of mesci down and says ‘Oh, thats me speakin in tongues, it comes on me now and again and I have to eed it. Well, me gran and me, we look at ‘er and say ‘Dordi, dordi, thats the Gypsy gift for yer.



© Raine Geoghegan, published in Skylight, July 2020

Picture 10118090, 1970s photograph, image copyright Mary Evans



dukkering – fortune telling; mush – man; mesci – tea; dordi, dordi – dear oh dear



Raine Geoghegan is a poet, prose writer and playwright of Romany, Welsh and Irish descent living in the UK.  She is a Forward Prize, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. Her debut pamphlet, Apple Water Povel Panni, was previewed at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2018. It was also a Poetry Book Society spring 2019 selection. They Lit Fires: Lenti Hatch O Yog was published in December 2019 with Hedgehog Poetry Press.


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