Frinton, Essex. 1997
My sister was a fat, marshmellowy tot
With a white floppy sunhat and a rattle that sang.
We took her to the Essex coast,
Not caring if she screamed in the car on the way,
Or did a poo in the sea.
‘This is real England.’
Where the fragile old binnies sit in the
Pavilion, wearing sweaty beige slacks and
They feed the swarm of seagulls,
Golden grease shining on wrinkled hands.
The tide slaps against the shady concrete
Underneath the beach huts, and we picnic
On scratchy grass.
A dead seagull is slowly eaten on a bed of pine needles nearby.
and watch for Ants.
My Nana sees a mole in the centre of my thigh and tells me to beware of cancer.
Amongst her liver spots
and sluggish skin
there is a vile scar,
puckering to a wounded abyss.
‘Only Worry if it changes,’ she says.
The air in the public loos is full of echoes:
the buzz of sand on the floor,
The relieved squirt of urine.
(There is oily loo-paper that never flushes,
And a steel mirror to see my sunburn in.
I check for freckles).
The new English Sand is flat and firm,
bouncing and indenting like a side of meat
Or uncooked pastry.
The black mole on my leg is like a
Baby crab on white thigh.
I find myself squinting away tears and salt,
I wash myself in bitter water.
The salt dissolves the stinging
In shiny, pink places, and goes up my nose:
A strong medicinal combination that burns inside.
In the white glare of sun in my eyes,
The standing wind turbines seem to be watching me from afar,
and I know,That somewhere miles out to sea
underneath the revolving arms,
there is a metal foot
Plunged into the dusty water,