cashmere wanderers under fifteens
I had always wanted to be
captain of the football team.
I had a big voice, and big legs,
and I always did my best
to get along with the other girls.
Maybe I was too inconsistent on the field,
it was that one time
I told the coach’s daughter
to stop fucking around
and kick the bloody ball.
Every summer they put up the signs saying NO FIRES
and every summer, we ignore them.
The sky above the ranges was going shy,
blushing and hiding in the skirts of the hills.
We walked the beach in search of dry driftwood and kindling,
brushing hands but never really holding on.
I had a guitar slung over one shoulder, remembering
an evening long ago when my sandals had washed off the rocks,
the look on my mother’s face when I returned after dark,
feet and cheeks marred with tears.
After that particular summer, The Walrus and the Carpenter
became my favourite Carroll piece. Hindsight
had just revealed this correlation when you swung
a warm, sunburnt arm around my waist,
but this wasn’t what made me stop.
Their movements melted the mirror of the bay.
Each ripple gave away the bulk hidden beneath.
The two fins offshore gently reminded us
why you don’t swim alone at dusk
before slipping behind the islands
like slipshod yachts out in a southerly.
We took it as a good omen and piled the bonfire high,
offering burnt marshmallows as votives to slippery gods
who can knock seals from ice floes
by making waves in military formation.
Claudia Jardine is currently studying Classics, English Literature, Latin, and Creative Writing at Victoria University in Wellington. She was born in Timaru, grew up in Christchurch, and has now deserted the South Island altogether. Claudia believes that more people should listen to Simon & Garfunkel.