1987 by Christian Ward


The house we holidayed in
was crumbling like cheddar.
It belonged to Jill, a friend
of my father’s. I never met her,
feeling her presence in dusty
board games and a beaded
curtain wrapping itself around
my six-year-old neck. Cows,
nosy like paparazzi, grazed
nearby. Sometimes, a tractor
materialised in the field, only
to disappear again the following
morning. I remember a large rock
in front of the house covered in strange beetles.
A nearby river
was teeming with rainbow trout.
Once, my father caught one
before slipping away like so much
he had. A game I played with my oldest
sister was to disappear into a large
wicker basket. I didn’t realise I’d flit in
and out of time. Sometimes, the rainbow
trout suddenly appeared and disappeared
in my father’s hands like a brilliant trick
of the light; a talisman to ground us
where we were needed the most.

Christian Ward (he/him) is a UK-based writer who has recently appeared in Open Minds QuarterlyDouble SpeakObsessed with PipeworkPrimeval MonsterAmazineTipton Poetry Journal and Wild Greens.

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