Wish You Were Here


- that seaside cliche, 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 Love Poems