An intimate memory of childhood


A rusty Humber rattled along
the gears designed on the steering wheel column.
The man driving the car was whistling,
tea bushes sweeping by the curvy roads
6 or 7 hours and they were still going.

The driver shifted gears,
the girl in the back seat kept staring at the steering wheel, and
wondered why the gears were designed to be there?
this detail was taking up her thought process.

The Stars had come out now.
5 degrees north of the equator
there was Venus, then the big dipper and little dipper
there were other forms she recognized
but could not recall their names. Polaris?

Still those tea bushes, still the gear shift
alongside the steering wheel.
Without warning a hedge appeared. Tall and dark
a row of them—and then: St Leonards Estate.

He stood tall, his beret cocked on his head
his long shorts grazing his knee. Waiting by the door
insouciantly leaning against the wall.
whiskey in hand. The kids stumble out
doors opening, spilling out biscuit crumbs,
cream soda bottles, specks of vomit, a pillow.

A bath!  The adults shot a cursory glance as the kids were
whisked away by their nannies.  mother barely acknowledging them,
father accepting a glass of drink from his host.
Clothes were peeled off bodies as they
got into their baths, two together. The water hot.
Soothing, the journey forgotten.

 

 

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