The Spanish Islands

by Anne Stewart

‘I’ve booked a holiday village’
she says. I see cockroaches and thieves
and lager louts abusing the pool
but say ‘What date do we leave?’

There’s a purpose to this holiday
neither of us has spoken of.
Who speaks of broken years?
Mothers of daughters lost?

I look up local festivals and foods,
advice for tourists, hire a car.
She buys new crossword books
and tops her list with decks of cards.

And that first night, the rhythmic
wash of sea interrogating land
will tiptoe with us in the dark
uncertain of the shifting sand.