A nostalgic poem by Melanie Whipman, looking back to the halcyon days of an endless childhood summer. Illustration by Lizzie Downes.

I still remember Southwick Beach.
Allowed out with the older girls.
The smell of the salt
And the tar and the rust
Of the boat yard gates.
The sting of hessian
Against yesterday’s
Sunburn. The gut-swirling
Freedom of four girls alone.
I remember the eyes
Of the cycling boys.
The slouch
Of their salt seared shoulders,
The casual drape of their hands
As they wheeled like circling gulls.
The white of Kim’s teeth
And her cautionary hiss
Not to look, not to stare, not to care.
I can still see the neat boundaries
Of their towels on the stones
And their careful grace
As they slipped off their clothes.
Their bikini’d confidence
As effortless and endless
As that long Summer day.

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