Wish You Were Here

  - that seaside cliché, the barnacles
  stuck to its bum like stiff fingerprints
  on Forensic's windows, like the dab
  lab-dusted for evidence by the bit-part,
  the whitecoat tail-end charlie
  hitched to the script for a swift consideration.
  Has anyone ever scratched them down,
  these idle words, doodling on a table
  sticky with sand and vanilla and skin?

  I wish you were here, my father,
  dead for a decade now, and last seen
  in the ante-room of a florist's
  where someone had swiped your glasses,
  and my feet coughing in fright
  at the sight of your quiet face,
  the arm the cancer had snapped tucked
  under the covers.

  I wish you were here, my childhood,
  barmy as a swizzle on its stick,
  with its primary colours, a sulky sun
  pasting itself over and over on single moments
  and ripping the same strange pages
  from a scrapbook destined to be left
  behind a wall, in a dusk, on a shore
  which had no point, no sea, no name.

  And I wish you were here, my lover,
  with the thread of doubt in your hair
  which the wind skiffles, that you were
  fast in me, your hard and bold arms
  wrapped around me, that every sinew in you
  struggled and screamed aloud in my ear,
  making love like an ocean even as we
  moved through rooms, alleys, streets,
  through the mundane and sunstruck alike,
  that, plundering each other for loss, we'd know
  how true this world is to us, if we
  grasp it and give it ourselves
  instead of fretting over phone lines,
  and living in smoke, when every pebble
  is smoothed by our truths.

  Looking for postcards, a snaffle
  to sweep up in my fist, and to send, admitting
  Wish You Were Here.

From the book Love Poems