Sundial in glorious pestilence of clover mites coming up through cracks
Itch of tomatoes. Frog-shock in watering can. Beans on poles.
Runner Bean, nickname called as I footed it nude down the garden,
gappy-toothed, hair straggling free,
to the little wooden slide. Each generation in turn –
headfirst into the paddling pool.
Blistered, splintering, looping joy of it.
Inside the mottled garage, fear hangs
with spiders to grime the windows, their enterprise
(the) cold and dark.
Beyond, the neighbour’s garden
where a millennial boy, visiting
from his care home, screams at the wrongness.
Laurel sway. Curls on my son’s head as he tilts the hose
over planters dreamy with my mother’s sweet peas.
Stone, like time, too hot to touch.
Gnomon casts its shadow –
every quarter different,
every day the same.
Resting on the copper plate,
Granny’s Cinecamera turned on all of this.
House passed on then sold.
Even our children grown and gone
but these overexposed summers flicker up through the decades,
unspool in landfill, the whirring of memory.
Becky Cherriman a writer, workshop leader and performer who works part time in Creative Writing at the University of Leeds’ Lifelong Learning Centre. Her poetry publications include pamphlet Echolocation and collection Empires of Clay, and works in Mslexia, Stand, Bloodaxe, Seren, and The North. Her writing has also been recognised for awards such as the Forward and the Women’s Poetry Prize and commissioned by organisations and charities including BEAM, Imove, The Cultural Institute, and Morley, Humbermouth and Ilkley Literature festivals. www.beckycherriman.com
“Sundial in glorious pestilence of clover mites coming up through cracks” by Becky Cherriman received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.