Early April Heatwave

by Natalie Thomas

They’re twisting the swings in the park next door,
metal coils against wood, the ache
echoes in the dry air. It sounds like deep August,
everyone outside in the sun.

We take a drive towards leafless woodland,
picnic in the boot, windows down, radio on.
Sunlight spills through stripped, craggy branches.
Has it ever been this hot in April?

Cross-legged on the gingham rug,
sucking slices of cucumber. Our eating is dazzling.
But the trees – they are grey little chicken bones,
the waste of last night’s winter.

You pour out the Pimms, slosh in strawberries
and god have you ever seen such big
British strawberries? And so early?
They’re wet and fresh but the trees –

the trees, I can’t stop looking at the trees.