Grandma  Reyah Martin



Your ‘I love you,’ is the greatest of my gifts.

It tastes of hard, hot sun, under-fountain

barbecues on the veranda.  I hold the heat

on my tongue until distance melts, and the

soft middle is your smell in a mouthful:

cinnamon and huge, heavy-scented powder

brushes and compact mirrors, silver, shining.

Your ‘I love you,’ comes from a foreign place

where I will always be a stranger until I can

touch your hand.  It lifts, laughs, lingers like

sugar-traces, silken scarves, high-heels spinning

high and lower and lower until you can’t walk far

and we stumble into a sunset, lifting each other

laughing, lingering over the already-forgotten.

Your ‘I love you,’ melts into mine, and dissolves

in a half-moon, hopeful heart on the other side of

the phone, crackly in the hope that you’ll remember

how old I was when I fell off the swings, how I

slip into words these days: Bonjour.  Adieu. 

And that I call you on other days too, not just

my birthday. 

Your ‘I love you,’ is the sweeter side of a lemon.

The sweet-bitter-sweet that no-one is prepared for

less than a second, more than a scent, like hearing

your voice over a tangle of phone-lines, tasting

of the hard, hot sun and the under-fountain

memories that take you piece by piece, so that

your ‘I love you,’ is the last beautiful certainty

that I can be certain of. 

(C) Reyah Martin 2019