Do you know someone whoâ€™s got the gift? I do, my Aunt Saforella. She was born wiv it and she knows everythinâ€™. When she wakes up she knows what the weatherâ€™s gonna be like and whose gonna be poppin’ in for tea, sheâ€™ll say â€˜Put the kettle on mum, our Evieâ€™s cominâ€™ over.â€™ My gran rolls â€˜er eyes and sayâ€™s â€˜Whoâ€™d thought it, my child wiv the Gypsy gift?â€™
Once a week, she yearns a few bob reading tea-leaves, she calls it dukkerinâ€™. She makes the tea, sets the china cups on the table, puts bright red lipstick on and waits fer â€˜er first customer. She donâ€™t know it, but Iâ€™ve often sat under the table, â€˜oldinâ€™ me legs tight and listeninâ€™. She puts on a posh voice and speaks very slowly and softly and I â€˜ave a job to keep quiet. She tells the folki all sorts of fings, like the type of mush theyâ€™re gonna marry or â€˜ow many kids theyâ€™ll â€˜ave. Once she told a woman that she was gonna come into a lot of money and the old dear jumped up and started runninâ€™ around the room, shoutinâ€™ â€˜I knew it, I knew it, me luckâ€™s gonna change.â€™
At night when Iâ€™m in bed, I â€˜ear â€˜er makinâ€™ strange sounds, as if sheâ€™s speakinâ€™ in a foreign language or perhaps stuck down a drainpipe. I â€˜ear granny callinâ€™ out â€˜Go tâ€™sleep Saforella, for cryinâ€™ out loud.â€™ In the morninâ€™ I says to â€˜er, â€˜You donâ€™t â€˜alf make some funny sounds in your sleep, Aunt Saforella.â€™ She puts â€˜er cup of mesci down and says â€˜Oh, thatâ€™s me speakinâ€™ in tongues, it comes on me now and again and I have to â€˜eed it.â€™ Well, me gran and me, we look at â€˜er and say â€˜Dordi, dordi, thatâ€™s the Gypsy gift for yer.â€™
Â© Raine Geoghegan, published in Skylight, July 2020
Picture 10118090, 1970s photograph, image copyright Mary Evans
dukkering â€“ fortune telling; mush â€“ man; mesci â€“ tea; dordi, dordi â€“ dear oh dear
Raine Geoghegan is a poet, prose writer and playwright of Romany, Welsh and Irish descent living in the UK.Â She is a Forward Prize, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. Her debut pamphlet, Apple Water â€“ 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.