Looked for, the abandoned lido –
just ghosts of swimmers,
bikini-clad sunbathers – shoulders singeing.
Our day of dark tourism:
wading through the coolness of dunes
towards ruins of outhouses.
Our summer of surgery,
escape to the beach, combing a trove of artefacts.
Pine trees angular through the seasons;
gorse waved hands from chalet windows.
Losing ovaries, we craved shapes
not holes in things. You scraped ovals
in the sand – ‘every oval a face’ –
and screened the omens out.
A patch of oyster shells: smithereens stumbled on.
An ossuary? For you, an Elysian Field,
the cemetery of a shoal, your phantom womb.
The rictus by your navel,
‘just another scar’, stitches, misaligned stars;
stars you’d string into constellations.
On dune slack we moved to Nicotine Path.
Through shaded eyes our shadows
stretched towards strandline garbage.
Gazing back – stripped turkeys,
a blockade of bodies, the heat’s haze –
from the pastiness of our faces.
The tea man with coke tin lanterns talked relapse
as we sipped on plastic chairs.
Silence. We skipped over cracks, single file,
past the burnt-out hotel’s blackened windows.
Patrick Wright has a poetry pamphlet, Nullaby, published by Eyewear (2017). A full collection will follow in 2019. His poems have appeared in Agenda, Wasafiri, The Reader, The High Window, and Iota. He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.