Beach Holiday

You are sitting eating an orange,
not giving me any
and staring straight out to sea.

The sand in front of me
is pocked with little craters,
every one a wild salt tear.

Why did we come to Spain
to have this row?
We could have stayed at home and watch it rain.

You say you’ll forgive me
if I understand what it is
you’re forgiving me for.

I am in a difficult position.
I want this to be over
so the beach can go back to normal

and all the figures jump about and bat
their brightly coloured beach balls
in golden light once more

but I cannot ask you to remind me
of what it was I did (or said) so
I say nothing.

Why do you think it’s called
making love anyway, idiot?
You stride off into the ocean

and are gone a long time.
I watch its foamy edges smooth the sand
and change my mind. I want you to be alive.

Indissoluble, how well we know each other.
These ructions, mutinies, aren’t they just
protests at the gravity of love?

Hating to know how deep it goes,
that need for one who finds you in a crowd,
who comes back home at night and stays and stays.

‘Beach Holiday’ by Beatrice Garland was commissioned by the Forward Arts Foundation to celebrate National Poetry Day 2014.