‘Lunan Bay’ by Pippa Little

Those journeys back through enormous nights,
eyes of cars tangling the trees’ fine hair
the back of my mother’s head
making me imagine home and
being safe in curled-up stillness,
engine beating in my ears like water
falling softly as fish to sleep —

gulp of Lunan,
loose-strung beads
sweet worry to my tongue
as we drove and drove and the bay
swallowed the moon in its slippery mirror —

how lonely the road, back from Lunan Bay
Only the whispers of a child’s breathing,
a luminous green dial and huge spaces,
the moon hanging like a severed ear
while the dark ahead turned milky

for comfort I trace those journeys home,
child blowing bubbles in a drowning car.

Pippa Little is a Scottish poet living in Northumberland, Northern England, where she is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University. Her first full collection, Overwintering, from Carcanet, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize. Her latest full collection, Twist, is just out from Arc Publishing.

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