Dusty trucks trundle to the port
with chunks of pink-veined marble.
Buses swerve inland and light
like liquid pours and pours
a water sheen across a boy,
lean in long shorts, who will swim
a few more explosive strokes
of white spume, then stand
to glisten in the sun. By a shaded café,
an old man clambers on a stool
to twist up a vine, the green tendril
in his fingers: summer’s ephemera.
Nearby the geraniums burn red
and scald the eye. Some piano music
takes me to a school room where
Renoir’s Les Parapluies hangs above
a mantelpiece. I stared at northern greys
and blues, at the woman looking out,
her black bandbox, pale hands,
her long skirt held up from the rainy dirt,
and lost, like me, a small girl
clinging to a hoop. I am forty-seven,
and slow to realise
how transience circles
like dark arteries
through our lives. Far off
on the sea wall a silhouette
jumps from rock to rock.

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