Christmas in Andalucía
I’m in the bath when you pop up,
between turkey and pudding,
for a drink with me: you with your g&t,
me with my vodka and coke.
It is dark in Surrey, while here
a late sun gleams in the olive groves.
Christmas in Andaluc?a:
the search for sunshine, the good life,
in a plush hotel – the mini-bar
stuffed with cheese, chorizo and olives,
a bottle of cava on ice. I have the laptop
on a stool at the side of the bath,
and you have yours at the end of your bed.
You look delicious in your new black bra,
far away in that cold stone house.
Beyond the dark window England
is covered in frost and moonlight.
Soon they’re calling you down for pudding,
cheese, and a good sweet wine, for games
around the fire. I ask you to take off your bra
before you go. I am full of loss and longing.
You slip the straps from your shoulders
and let it fall. The miles are meaningless.
You try to escape but can’t; the heart
is hewn from elm and oak and mistletoe.
from Talking Dead (forthcoming, Cape, 2015), Neil Rollinson 2014, used by permission of the author and the publisher