Your child runs alongside you, her laughter
rises into the air like sea fret, it is raining
the sky milky grey, you taste salt on your lips
you stop, bend down to pick up a shell
you press the conch to her ear
What can you hear?
The roar of the sea.
You walk along the beach, drifters sift
through the driftwood of their lives
carrying crochet hemp bags
filled with smooth rocks.
Gulls soar through the air,
You teach your daughter
to sort the good wood from the bad
that the sea is neither blue nor green
that the rocks are neither rugged nor smooth
but somewhere in-between.
POPPIES IN OCTOBER
Red poppies in the field rattle around next to dog daisies
colours that bleed into each other as a train on the horizon
trundles along the East Coast Main line like a boy’s Hornby train
on a miniature track. A grouse is flushed from its hiding place
the disembodied cry rises like a wounded child.
The sky is flawless ― clouds look like a Simpson’s cartoon.
She sees him in the blue sky, the wheat fields there is no escaping him, the smell of his skin
his warm breath, her little boy laid to rest.
Rachel Burns is currently an Arvon/Jerwood mentee in playwriting. Poems shortlisted in competitions Mslexia, Writers’ & Artists Yearbook and The Keats- Shelley Poetry Prize 2017.