The hedonism of a day away from rules

nobody looking I stay undressed

sunlight warming unconscious nudity before

the advent of lines and regret; naked in peace

whilst all around they buttoned up and hid

in plain sight, pouring unspoken regret into cold china

older generations wearing their Sunday Best

answering doors in smoking jackets, feeding the cat in gowns

buying bread at the corner store in silk stockings and high heels

fetching milk from the stoop in mink and pearls

their pin tucked hair shellacked with obsidian varnish

I grew up in a farmers boot, the inside plaid and warm

like a favorite dog blanket, dotted with moth holes

sheets, walls, books smelt of mildew, old paper, dried flowers

the husks of moths dying on their earth pinned backs

legs worming for one last yellow eyed moon

I grew up climbing trees, tearing hair, fragile skin, dreams

just a hand away, weighty on branch, the taste of

fresh picked fruit staining my throat glorious, plum

freedom ran in summer like a untrained colt, through fallow earth

leaving her imprint deep in black dirt, the hummus and quiet

spectacle of puff balls and poison ivy, blue bells and fly agaric

crocus urging against cold season, spreading their violet

impossible like a lantern set to sea, bobbing, out, in, out

then a wink and gone, gentle perishment

my friends came from the forest, their grubby faces

freckles meeting injury, others already dark like the

cool of a deep well where mayflies scattered drunk

the sheen of youth as we made our camps in hay bales

ignoring the roar of impatient adults calling us home for tea

we ate our squashed sandwiches, and purloined fruit like

urchins feasting; toes touching, canopy of leaves and

stolen tarp, slapping against high wind, our faces

undeveloped film, time without exposure, no recall

a dream state now, did it really happen? Was I ever .. free?

The long nightgown from a fancy boutique in Paris

a 1980’s twist of neon marring its sophistication, lucky

as I was never that, trailing dirt into my bedsheets

alongside book and glass eyed toy, the drizzle of

midnight rain, an outpouring cutting off sound

the nestle of night creatures, hollow branches

batting against thick glass in gentle sway

a gibbous moon cresting and falling behind ribbons of

indigo, I heard the fox call my name and I left my

maker and all their ancestors, for my own dissolving

the fragility of marrow flowers, blooming their yellow hearts

dry beans curling against the other, glossy aubergine

thorny to the last, climb of tomatoes bidden for bird

I tasted the worm with the apple, as she devoured

the sharp of the knife plunged in my thin chest

those slugs that found your vein as you submerged

love bites from strangers, the convex of snails

leaving filigree in leaves, willow obscuring horror

deeper, deeper, there where all the lost creatures go

I heard my grandmother singing as she hung wet clothes

paint on her hands, set against silver rings, her gypsy smile

my grandfather’s finger on the trigger, as he squinted against sun

and shot high over clay pigeon, scaring the dust

my father’s tears, lain soft on first emerging autumn mushroom,

whiter than my clothes, awaiting leaching

a pearl within grey, the folds of time beneath us all

Emma and her small bones curled in a C

in the bower behind the hunters forgotten shed

we crept in dread, following vole and hair pin and damson lark

out beyond confinement, where air was pure

and drunk like elderflower as it fades and stains wild stream

I loved myself then, maybe the last time

before we had to wear shoes again, doff hats

starched collars, tight socks, reminding me always

of that impossible white, like a horse chestnut

the first moment it is revealed, and then

with time, drying to something auburn and hard

as nothing we create unnaturally

will ever have the same


2 Replies to “The last summer of childhood”

  1. I am thinking that I may not again look upon your grown up face without catching some sign of that girl there, so young and free, still within.

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