A poem of youth, memory and the reinterpretation of the past. Penned by Claire Booker and first published in our twelfth issue on the theme of Time.

I remember your promise —
the meadow lands of Surrey laid out before us
like a picnic on best linen
and talk of wild parties;  

the way the gravel bruised my feet,
a slew of cars silting the driveway
and how the chimneys shifted shape
with each new angle.  

That night was full of door slam
and things half said, strangers touching
in corners, a girl draped in fox fur swaying
through a room of clocks.  

We slept on the floor wrapped in patchouli
and other people’s snores,
oak butting my hips each time I turned
and you too spaced to go beyond the perfunctory.  

As day slid out from under night I rose
in my Greek sandals, passed
waking lawns, the gate, and watched
an ancient hornbeam, black with crows,

fling hieroglyphs into the sky.
Now I see it was the last time we would spend wild,
and not wild enough
for a last time.

'First Summer' was published in Popshot's 12th issue, The Time Issue, which has now sold out. To ensure that you never miss a future issue of the print magazine, subscribe from just £10 a year.