Alison Winch

 

 

Eastbourne

We’re the youngest guests at the Queen’s Hotel –
and you’re 52. It’s the summer solstice and we’re breaking up

except we’re making love on the fifth floor
in an evening light as yolky as an afternoon.

The sexy doom of the split
is like falling in love and a stay of execution.

Everything’s alive: whelks, do-nuts.
The soupy fumblings of the sea.

Just a day trip to Seven Sisters, you said,
without the bookies. You clot with nostalgia

for our first months, sharbing in Tottenham:
Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power.

The wind touches us up as we tussle
in the purple gorse,

the beam of the nougat bitten cliffs,
and Eastbourne: ballroom dancing, plastic bed sheets, eggnog,

women whose hearts are clamped on their faces
hard as wedding bands.

Driving home (though it’s no longer ours),
we stop at Pease Pottage services:

a piece of the universe
that love forgot, you despair.

I hug my knees by the window at 3am,
remember the sea heaving the pier’s stilted limb.

 

 

 

 Alison Winch has been published in Rialto, Poems in Which, and others. She was showcase poet for Magma 51.

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