We had some rows but that was the worst.
Staying awake till light, trying not to roll into each other
hissing quietly in case the next tent heard.
It was nothing new; about my commitment
which I refused to give till you stopped drinking
which you refused to do till I committed
saying it was all you had without me and anyway
if you stopped, would there be something else
I’d want to change? The reply, well
I guess we’ll never find out, will we.
When morning came, as thin as aeroplane air
we fell into a drab sleep that smelt of rubber.
Heat did things to that airbed. I thought
we’d not come back from that dawn
but we did, and drove to the beach
where you swam in your leotard
protecting yourself from the chill
of people’s eyes. And you without
so much as a stick of cellulite.
It was a good holiday, though you didn’t forgive me
for not knowing that beforehand. You drove,
you cooked, you pitched the tent and all I had to do
was kiss you, pull you down on the thick wobbly floor
avoiding seasickness, suffocation and the thought
that a flap of cloth was all that kept us
from family after family. You slept so well that week
risking, for once, me being awake when you weren’t.
I woke warmed on one side, a bright cold
seeping round me, as if a fridge had been left open.
I’ve not seen you for months. Today it’s been cold
on the beach, a glassy desert; just three lads sloping
by the sea wall. The sun bright and diffused, like static.
The sense of a storm that might or might not come.
And though I miss you I’m not sorry it’s over;
I can love you from here, though you won’t have it.
Maybe you’re right and my emotions have gone out too far this time
like the tide. And maybe I do wait for everything to end
expect it. But maybe it was you, too
calling me summer, suspecting me of winter.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
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- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The