Summer of love

She feels it now.

It’s under her,
Now somehow inside.

Swelling up,
A universe expanding
Into the smallest parts of her

As she stands up and takes control,
Feeling like a four year old
At a birthday party with unlimited cake.


Now let’s do it again.

The water is liquid memory
And she’s lost inside it.

Sometimes his voice is there,
Low and steady,
Like the heart she would listen to
At night when he was quiet.

Push it down further,
Now go under.

That’s my girl.

Its been four years
Since she heard those words,
Smiling and wet,

The years turned
And summers fled one by one.

The first,
She would call it their summer of love,
They laughed like insanely sliding otters,
Water beading on his chest,
Her fingers drawn to touch each one
And reflect on its dazzling potential.

That summer
The otters were cut down
By the operation they never spoke of afterwards,
Not once,
As if it never happened.
As if that spark of eternity
That ignited between them
And was planted inside her body
Had never existed.

I’m a gardener he said.
We don’t destroy life,
We make things grow.
But even though
He held her that day
He wanted it to happen
And they do,

They do.

They call flowers weeds
And uproot trees older than their fathers.
They make compost heaps
To throw in the detritus
And walk away,

To never speak of it again.
Not even once.

The summer of love ended
And the year turned,
As years do.

By the second year they were ‘sorting it out’
Or ‘doing what you want’,
Depending on your perspective.

He was living at his mate’s house,
Recapturing the summers of their youth
And his lost
What had he lost?

He wasn’t sure.

She waited for him,
And the board waited
In the back shed for her.

The third summer
They shared life amidst traffic noise
And graffiti galleries
And cafes of people
Who squinted in the sunlight
And only really smiled when it rained.

It’s too far to drive he said,
Next year we’ll get back in the water.

But when that summer came
He was with someone else.
She surfs, of course.

Of course.

Another summer of love,
But not for her.

She didn’t know where he was
Only that he was somewhere else.

For her
Time passed like fog
On an interminable ocean.

She surfed her parents’ couch,
Far from any beach
Or anything
That made any sense,
While her mother fed her soup
And her father tiptoed around her,
Trying not to disturb
What he knew he must protect
And would never understand.

She found herself a new home
And the year turned,
So slow.

At the front door
A quiver of boards waited,
Luminous sentries
That every day welcomed her and asked
Did we have fun today?

And as winter’s leash loosened
She got herself back in
On the strength of her own spine’s resolve.

Out here
She doesn’t think about him,
Except when the ocean brings his voice.

For otters are creatures of the moment
And these are her moments.

Soon it will be
The fifth time around
Since she started counting.

Wave after wave,
She’s rebuilding the beauty of the world
And she can feel it,
The other otters are laughing.

With their tiny paws
They’re high fiving her
And with every wave
They’re telling her, this summer

Will be our summer of love.

Summer of love


Sydney, Australia

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