FB and the Lighthouse

Shuffling through the warm surf towards the lighthouse

thinking of Kenya and the giggling boys

jumping into the sandy brown estuary

to cover their innocence from the sudden white man.

Trying not to remember the look on your face as I slipped that day

smacking my head on the wet boulder

hearing you shouting at me that I looked old

wiping the red trickle angrily away from my fat lip

helping myself up, the sand grinding in my teeth.

Whispering something softly to your sister’s man

in French of course in order to conceal the sting

walking into to La Mer and thinking how much I hated you then

not in any foreign language but in spite of everything

you thought I didn’t understand.

Like how all those years ago

Lydia, used to turn my bed down each night

in return for very little and the hope maybe of a big tip at the end of it all

and how she slept in a hut outside the grounds with the others

whilst we complained about the insects and the lack of ice in the gin.

Smelling sweetly despite all that, she was a pretty girl with a kid

and no real future without the likes of  us who keep coming to get away

standing all day in the scorching sun

selling her wares for a fiver and a big bottle of beer.

Leaving me with something like pity and a note to say thanks

I know not for what except that I hardly knew her

but that she would have held my head I’m sure

and gently dabbed my salty cuts, like everything and nothing.

Ash Cheyne  – © May 2019

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