Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.


The sun flares over the bay, its haze a portal —
to where I left a skin behind:
under cliffs where a windbreak stood,
catching barbecues, a waft of hot dog fat,
skrikes of kids, open-mouths, white noise, broken kites,
tugging pants for treats, tugging nan’s, dads
tugging hands of ozone-scorched pink,
where cirrus streaks cream on blue from gadabouts,
tilted faces singed around sunblock and shades.
A photo of the bay: ghosts through acetate,
roving still, revenants bathed in August,
cut-outs, sometimes stick-men, waxworks waving to waves,
to boys, like buoys bobbing towards the sound,
drowned out by a jet, far out.
A wrack of cloud covering us, brother and I
toeing the sea-bed for hazards, waist-high,
half-mile, wading down a sand-slope,
in-jokes, of falling down the continental shelf.
In lucid dream, surf starts again to move,
the beached mannequins resume, re-stage that day,
and the light remains just as lurid,
as if I’ve landed here, an intrepid time-traveller.
To where? — mother, her eighties-dark hair,
impossible, revived, as it was, ashore, finding a wraith
of what was, her, ensconced, a diorama,
only if I could clamber through
the gloss, fit through the frame, to where is forbidden.

Patri Wright has been shortlisted for the 2015 Bridport Prize, and poems from his pamphlet Nullaby have been published in several magazines, including Agenda, Poetry Quarterly and Brittle Star. He teaches Creative Writing at The Open University. You can find out more about him at his website.

Categories: Poetry

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