I’m back in Oxford, summer ’72 –
my father’s aspirations thirty years ago.
A family visit. Sun and cloud.
Girls in floating Laura Ashley dresses,
climbing into student cars, driven
to picnics, to who knew where.
The shining ones – could I really
become one of them?
Then cutting through all this,
a man steps forward, spits at us,
and hurries on – revealing
my mother and father to me,
stripped of their protective glass,
their two colours, like those double
erasers we used then, for ink and pencil.
My parents, fixed, momentarily
in that hallowed city
of pavements, noise and clouds.
My mother’s furious face,
my father’s seeming absent-mindedness.
Little said. The moving on.