Still only nineteen,
I pretended at first
it was a brownstone
mid 20th Century,
imported in, that it
was meant to be
black and white,
small under a breath
curses trapped in
corners or twisted
venetian blinds, thick
with muffled dust. I
shifted the scene to
home fire’s lit up
even on Indian
thrown over flames
like chivalry instead
of cat’s eyes snuffed
on each threadbare
tread, I always reeled
in the torch beam when
he said, Claire, let’s
collect the condiments.
We both know this way,
the way that feels like forever.
The blackest path taking
the longest shortcut past
deciduous expectancy and
all the warmest, safest houses
rooted solidly in you
and me and can you see?
Mortality hanging patiently
in the trees and can you hear?
Kind crinkled smiles from
all of our ancestors who came
by this way and can you say why?
For us, intrinsic happiness will never,
ever fade and maybe, just maybe,
can I walk alongside you, home.
Why you should always walk along a pier
at twilight on your anniversary, past the kiosk,
under the slightly kitsch façade and kiss-me-quick
cliché into tomorrow’s familiarity and intricate structure.
Hold her hand when it seems she might fall through
your fingers, her own intuition or the cracks in the boards
where the sea slips like a dripping tap over seams and salt scars.
She’s saying Scandanavia is closer than you’d think and
thinking how you used to undress her with words and how she
wishes, of all the beaches in the world, she’d visited that Tate one,
Porthmeor, and you’re gripping iron railings like they’re a firm planned-
out life, at the end of a platform, you’re losing the light, turn around fast,
focus blurred sight on the promenade then come back, back, please come back.
Julie Hogg graduated from the University of Teesside with an MA in Creative Writing in 2012. She has work published in Alliterati, The Black Light Engine Room, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Lemon Quarterly, The Linnet’s Wings, The Screech Owl, The Stare’s Nest, StepAway Magazine and Yellow Chair Review. Anthologized by Appletree Writers, Ek Zuban and Kind of a Hurricane, she is featured in a chapbook, Dark Matter 2, from the Black Light Engine Room Press.