For Auntie Janet

by Luke Otley

The infinite shining sun
of my childhood is where you sleep,
our history fifteen years past,
passed faster than can be gripped
with any human hand.
My memory is selective-
nostalgic, and not to be trusted.
I wish it to stay this way.
I will that day to remain
as remembered,
remembered through a boy’s eyes,
dipped in liquid innocence
and set to dry
on a stone wall warmed
by the sun.

That day
when I opened the door
of my mum’s moving car just to feel
the gravel ripping
away from us in a blur
of white noise,
louder than the driver’s shriek,
sharper than the sapphire eyes
caught nervous in the rear-view,
That Look I met
with my own two tear pricked eyes
I knew could boil lobsters pink.

In the storm of my scolding
you appeared,
a lighthouse
patiently observing
a dingy flirt with the rocks,
with a hand on my neck so cool
it was as if you’d gone already.

And now,
with the seas long calmed,
I remain
unwilling to forget
the feeling of your fingers on my nape,
as smooth and sure
as the stones
that were shared
among the grieving,
stones glittering
like spittle on teeth,
like brake-lights on a storm drain.