Tonight, I decide, is the night I will succeed.
I’ll walk across the stiff peaks,
kneel in the sand,
and tell her how it ends.
The gulls scream that I’m coming,
but she doesn’t listen, or understand.
She squints against the sky,
shoos them away,
thinking they’re trying to steal her chips.
The sun blazes, roars in my ears,
bores into my thoughts –
like every time before.
She pulls a pudgy hand up as a visor,
scowls at me, and my funny clothes
for a second, then folds
to inspect her sandcastle better.
Bent like a tree frog, toes spread
and anchored firmly to the earth
she starts smoothing down the walls
and asks who I am.
I tell her I’m from the future and she laughs,
eyes shining with images of tin foil jeans
and sky skimming cars.
Where’s your dad?
She gestures to a tall man at the shore,
distant and black against the horizon.
His hands are full with melting ice cream,
and a little boy’s hand.
If she’s six, he’s three,
and their dad’s about to leave.
I wipe at my flaking forehead, grimace at my palms.
My heart burns in my throat.
I haven’t got long.
Her mum sups at a can of pop,
eyes smooth behind iridescent sunglasses
reflecting iridescent sea.
They’re all so happy, I think.
Condensation slides down the can.
I salivate. I ache.
I can’t bring myself to ruin this humble moment
that stretches before me.
So I look down at the sand
as my toes and this vital memory curl
back on themselves.
I regenerate, thicken, solidify above.
On my return I find the crowd entranced by the screen, oblivious
to the timer counting down in the corner as I watch
myself watching myself crumble into ash again.
At school assembly the boys were told to leave
and we were shown pictures
of tubes and eggs,
that were round, not egg-shaped.
They showed us flat shiny squares
and tiny tubes that looked like sweets
and the nurse lady told us that when her first moon came
she thought she was dying.
I didn’t want to die.
But that was a long time ago, she said
and now girls get told about things
so that was OK.
Then the talking was over.
I thought about telling her I was scared,
even though girls now get told about things.
I saw Lindsay hang behind
she had boobs already
and we teased her
when secretly we wanted them too.
When I woke years later to the smell of rust
my legs stuck together
and the stain on my sheet
I thought, they never tell you that, do they-
red blood darkens to brown.
In the afterlife phones are not mobile-
and red booths are used to tell secrets
to loved ones. Most whispers allude to God’s
appearance. Some say he is a microbe,
unable to comprehend His children;
and others say he’s so impossibly
colossal that his days are like our years.
His house is vacant; with graffiti scrawled
phrases like Monetary-gone-mad-system.
Eerie runes are dug into His gate. They
explain His long absence- regrettably,
however, they are indecipherable.
One day, translator’s eyes will roll at: I’m off,
the kids have eaten me out of house and home!
The word babe refers to;
· A small, usually new-born, infant.
· The name of the piglet that wants to be a sheepdog from the 1995 film of the same title.
The word babe is not a term of endearment.
And for that matter, neither is honey.
The word honey refers to;
· A sweet, sticky, yellowish-brown fluid created by bees from the nectar collected from flowers.
The word honey is not a term of endearment.
And for that matter, neither is its weaker derivative, sweetie.
Humans have a surprisingly high sodium content. If anything, an accurate term of endearment is salty.
E.g. “Hey salty, pass me the sugar.”