Slanted in the front seat
on that long road to Nottingham,
your eyes closed,
the sun on your fine fair hair.
You look like that girl a decade or so ago
clamped tight to my chest – my little limpet;
all bony legs, sticky arms wrapped
around my neck.
You’d lean back, taking hold of my head,
twisting it to look me in the eyes,
grabbing my attention.
Today eye contact is hard-earned;
the road has ended
and the time has come
to unload and share you with the world.
I offer to stay and help unpack
but you are keen to start your new life,
and us remnants of the old
must leave stage left,
content now to be cameos
rather than the main act.
In your haste, you left your lip salve
where you sat, the seat still warm.
The tin’s almost empty –
I should throw it away –
instead, it is an excuse to mount
those stone stairs one last time.
As you open your door
your eyes crinkle,
your mouth cracks wide
and I’m rewarded with that little girl smile
and one last hug.