Dawn not yet and the night still
lingers in the cooling air. Outside

in the square it is totally silent
but for the sound of the sea
in the trees.
The breeze

slides into our room, and the muslin
hung over the windows
balloons like sails.

We lie like spoons

in a four-poster bed
that stands free on the tiled floor
in the middle of the room.

The tiles are large, the colour of gingerbread
and on every other tile a small glass
holds a tea light candle.

The whole floor glows

like a phosphorescent sea. Earlier
I made you a cup of fresh camomile tea. And now
you rest

in me.


She’s been given a handful of shells and special stones,
two pairs of socks and shoes. The children
run off,

come back with a question,
a wound, a complaint. The wind brings her

dog bark, a distant train. She’s thinking
of what to do about dinner,

of a past lover, of the sliding sky’s infinity
of forms.

The sun’s light is laughter on the dancing water.

He is standing, holding
her laugh
in the silent street
his hand

curled to the shape of her palm. He’s a child.
It’s cold.

He’s fine.
The rain

is taking care of everything.

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.