This weather reminds me of you:
wind and rain whistle down
the alleyway, tear leaves from trees,
cement salt onto windows,
send tin cans scudding down streets
with a jarring metallic scrape.
Nights of deserted windblown
encounters in dreary seaside towns:
posters torn, lights blinking, litter flying
in drizzled air, empty but for a hint
of fish and chips, seaweed, beer
and Wish You Were Here.
I remember a boy with skin like milk,
the taste of freshly baked bread,
chestnut hair falling into his eyes,
charm of a John Lennon smile;
dark eyes on white made this place
an Arcadia of cheek and jaw.
I was the shy new girl he chose,
16 and green, dazzled by headlights.
We skipped school for the sand dunes,
the river, the back of his father’s van;
the pine tree’s bark a tattoo on my spine.
Then the eyes always looking
for other beauty, greater loveliness.
I left you but I didn’t forget you,
my boy with skin like milk;
you were the yardstick others
never measured up to.
And now I hear of your early death,
a light goes out, the colours fade,
the milk sours.
At the top of the field
a room of wood and glass
that holds wonders.
Air heavy with earth and growth,
sun-born globes red as rubies
hang like baubles.
They leave a tang on the hands
and juice down the chins
of little thieves –
pick the bottom ones or those
hidden behind sticky leaves,
the smallest are the sweetest.
Grown by hands calloused
with use, earth-furrowed:
my grandfather’s green thumbs.
The Fox Road
After a month of sun and rain
grasses grow waist-deep,
downy with dandelion seeds
furring edges into soft focus.
The lizard basks and the adder
makes arcane trails through long grass
on warm dry crumbs of earth.
White butterflies dip and drink
from buddleia holding its lilac
candles to bright thick air.
By the oak trellised with ivy
the fox road into woods.
Here they are now building houses,
a crop of square concrete foundations.
Uprooted trees gape like hastily
pulled-out teeth, and at night
ghosts of lizards and adders
and butterflies parade, while phantom
lilacs wave in dusty air, and foxes
stalk the shrinking woods.
Annest Gwilym lives in North Wales, near the Snowdonia National Park in the UK. Her writing has been published in a number of literary magazines including Ariadne’s Thread, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Journal and on writersbillboard.net. A couple of her poems were published in the Templar anthology Mill in November 2015. She has received three ‘Special Commendations’ and one ‘Shortlisted’ in writing competitions in recent years. Also, she was the runner-up in the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2015, for short fiction.