Where were we again? Lostwithiel.
The dry-damp smell returns first:
Garden insinuating into the house
With decaying air, stirring growth.
The weight of rain drew down the sky,
Pale flora in sunlight effervesced:
Synthesis of charcoal and wet bark,
Boiling water and cooking grease.
Domesticity. We creaked about morning,
Noon and night on buck-teeth floorboards.
Doo-dah, your portly Dalmatian, depositing
A scrim of fine albino hair, her smell
Dominating all others. Basket, blanket,
Dog shit. Mornings we breakfasted
Together: you, me and your mother,
Sometimes your sister and her daughter,
On occasion some other waif or stray:
Your mother’s lover; the decorator.
Their faces all forgotten: I see you move
From room to room, a weave of brown,
Short-haired and swishing, preparing
Staple meals, or a bowl of hash.
In the high heat of summer we drove
To Padstow, St Austell and St Ives.
You took me to ‘the site’,
The abandoned holiday camp
Where the travellers and addicts dwelt
In a haze of ecstasy and smack,
Your pregnant friend,
Skin stretched tight across her face,
Drew hard on her cigarette,
Looked at me, and asked you
If you were going straight.
We scored some hash, and left
Long walks by the Fowey stilled time
To a zero, a naught, a nothingness
Of pure leisure, a fallow period
Before more serious purpose overtook us:
Work, study, the pressing distance,
Responsibilities, the pickiness of youth.
We agreed to part and were reunited
In that final week above the lounge,
While your mother’s black and white TV
Flickered out its mournful coda.