The Past Slid Back, Moring on the Water


Poetry by Laura Potts

 

The past slid back

 

and our childhood stands

in a long-worn place:

 

the plush of our hands

by a stammering fire,

the sputtering tongue

of a candle then higher

than dark, brotherly hills.

 

Still, I see the films of our eyes

now flicking with years:

warming our bones

on the doorstep of home;

the ropeswing,

the late light,

the searchlight

which groaned

in that long afternoon

when you didn’t come home.

 

Alone,

the cracks in this ground

still hold twelve-year old feet.

The voice of the child that you were

curling the ceiling to meet

with the ghost of your long-lost

past.

 

And last,

I think of the distant

chime of your voice

that split

at my skull;

 

my dull dumb thumb

on the telephone which rung

out the world

for your words,

screaming:

 

wherever you were

you were gone.

 


 

Morning on the water

 

and a wet-mouthed world

gave a lost last look

at the lovers who curled

on the banking,

spinning,

awake

poured a hot greasy laugh

at the stars in the lake.

 

I remember you

my laughing love

when that night

we had chips

and grins

and no scent of filth

on our teeth

on our lips. Down fingertips

the long hot

silver which spilled

from your skin

I remember

 

when the feminine ring

of a shop bell, the fossilised swing

by the garden shed

rings out an evening.

 

But here and now,

the garden giggles and springs

at the chime of your name.

 

Your voice, unremembered,

I’d know miles away.

 


Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has been published by Aesthetica, The Moth and The Poetry Business. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and became one of the BBC’s New Voices last year. Her first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas. She received The Mother’s Milk Writing Prize and a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.