I crept the three steps to
your room, which smelt
of musty aged breath
and butterfly panic.
Sandwiched between the glass
and a chink in the net curtains,
a Red Admiral, whose
fluttering mirrored my
I stumbled over slippers
to your jewellery box.
Fishing out pearls and the ruby ring,
that swam off my finger and dropped
back home into knotty chains and
Brooches from another life
paid for, with dollars
to pin on collars of real fur.
Sparkles and hallmarks
piled up, a pyramid displaced
in this fisherman's cottage.
You called me for lunch,
puffing upstairs, flapping by in a
flour cloud with your
dentures clapping, in a slow applause-
making a tumble of your speech.
Waiting for the tart to cook,
bubbling under with
we sat impatient
as cinnamon, allspice and
cloves wafted in droves
from the scullery.
You promised a tomorrow slice
as the Ford Orion arrived
early with your daughter,
to take me home.
We spent a slice of the day at Wollaston beach
lying on gravel, like spiky aged grout
that wanted to spit us back
onto hot pavements, with our warm
Budweisers and free days,
roaming the suburbs of Milton.
Sidewalk stunned, we stood eyeing the wrong
traffic. Lapses, which could have gulped
our holiday insurance.
Horns pressured into warnings.
We tried to remember......
Instead we dodged bulldozers and dry wells in the streets.
Took ourselves off on the Red line, Braintree booming from
the speakers, amongst the shuffling of commuters.
The guy in Bermudas with his briefcase which, when opened
revealed a lonely newspaper.
My sister eyeballing this kaleidoscope commute.
Filene's cooled us after the complimentary Sprite,
from the paddling pool freezer
that I accepted with suspicion.
My father's, "there's nothing free in this life"
sliding in the canal of my ear,
west of the Atlantic.
World gazing under that tree on Boston Common,
whose sprawling branches darkened
the patch where we sat. Making smoke rings,
with Marlboros, resembling a mutant fish in shorts,
shades and dusty espadrilles.
I sent you back to the shop, with the faulty lighters and you
stomped off, returning with speed and
a little embarrassment.
Your sunburnt calves I saw, before you.
The blip blop of your flip flops sounded
wonderfully lax, at home on the mown
expanse of lawn on that July afternoon.
When we sat adjacent to a city life, that we inhaled
and let enshroud us. Twenty summers ago.