Even just writing those numbers creates a feeling in me like
the shifting of tectonic plates: things will slowly change as,
together, we’ll outlive one century and cross into another.
This is the summer we begin as the family of five
we’ll always be, in the council house we’ll grow up in,
that Dad and Mam will buy, but never leave themselves.
I have my eyes squeezed shut against the bright summer sun.
My straightened arms and hands flare as if I might be
imagining flight, but my sister anchors me to her side.
Let me be the photographer staring down into the lens
of a Box Brownie, let me really see my mother’s red hair,
my father’s best trousers, my brother’s barely lived in skin,
our white socks and Start-Rite sandals, or deeper still –
the cotton handkerchiefs in our dress pockets, Dad’s tattoos
hidden under his long sleeved shirt, the sand beneath
the soil and grass under our feet, the scent in the darkness
when we opened the coalbunker door, what we knew then,
what we didn’t know, what we were unable to even imagine.