Saturday, 7 November 2015


It didn’t make me think
Of the earth-grey scar
Which smiled across her abdomen
As she inched on the clothes for work
-          Not then anyway, barely ten
And the canal and its town an enigma yet.

She made me hold her hand, taking pictures
Giving coldness back with
Bad circulation. Dad smiled underneath a Plastic mac.
To capture a sense of surprise
He’d parked the car at a distance.

Still all natural to me then
The bridges where I would hide
Uncertain why the fear would peak
Like images, through mother’s eyes.
I dragged the dirt
And them, each other
As I broke bread from towpath
Like confetti
Onto water.

Still a daughter, still impromptu
Using bread to stop the tongue
It tasted raw then, stale-fizzed, revisited
The domestic less miserable
I yelled ‘come on!’
I thought we were going to miss the town
And stay looking at this aisle forever
-          The water where we overtook
And waved at the boats still slow and pleasant.
A pantomime for other stares
We were then
But perhaps it was only I who knew
Playing at families like a gem

And the chimney ahead was treasure
Not a ‘view’.
Like the a man who worked a lock, no keys
I tried to understand, but thought it odd
The sense of fulfilment as his body heaved
-          Parents seemed invited there to watch.

Their faces in the cold, half-touched,
The water extending, like a jetty
All day I tried to curve it with
Squeezed-shut eyes
Like wishing for time
But feeling memory.