This is of you as Columbus
on a dune, doubling your guess
about where America lay;
challenging the world to say no.
Having it all:
husband piped and semi detached
in a deckchair, but decidedly domesticated.
Home habits transplanted to the seaside.
Short-sleeved under a cardigan,
sun-hatted against the chance of a tan.
One son with telescopic arms,
clutching at his mother; his brother busy
with a digger
and all that beach to build.
Children were less breakable then;
we bounced around the back seat
of a Renault 5 among holiday necessities:
rugs, books, kettle, plastic sacks
about to spurt out clothes,
as the road grew sparse at the sides,
grass became marram.
A toy blue gate
provided personal access
to the holiday bungalow,
welcoming our senses
with boiled new potatoes
and sea-wet cocker.
Transparent souvenirs trailed home
before the kids outgrew their season;
the skin of simple things wrinkled,
tired and finally popped unnoticed
to reveal a greying stretch of strand
tapering into a rubbery sea.
You agreed it was time to move on.
And this is you in the bubble,
settled on grass, sustained with cords;
crowning joke for a passable Irish summer.
You put wicker chairs inside,
drank Earl Grey after breakfast
and toasted the first Riesling
of the evening with that smile of victory;
challenging the world to do better.
Having it all:
husband driving in recalcitrant pegs,
distracted from devices.
Membrane of success where you could plan
church battles, meals to freeze,
outdoor toys for when grandchildren came;
imagine a son back to acknowledge
that all was worth having, worth keeping,
for the little ones, their future memories:
cutting strawberries the cell mutates
adding sugar exploring ambiguities;
a little more poised diaphanous,
don’t tell your mother reconciles with air.
A poet and intermittent writer of short fiction, Simon spends most of his time teaching English in a Secondary School in Cologne, although he would like to escape back home to Spain. He has had work published in Envoi, Orbis and Ink Sweat & Tears, and been shortlisted in various short fiction competitions.