The summer after leaving for Uni
They all came back, trailing clouds
Of different-coloured hair; wispy beards
Some bad tattoos: scrawled spiders
Dirty hieroglyphs. New words:
And we talked about how snowflakes
When they enter the upper atmosphere
Are indistinguishable, smooth, round
The journey through the air shapes each
And by the time they reach the ground
They have all become unique.
Wearing their status as returned
Adventurers with ironic pride,
They billeted themselves upon us
Commandeered old bedrooms
Requisitioned supplies, trooped
In and out of each other's’ houses.
Talked into the dawn some nights,
About ideas, imaginings, our place
In the universe, politics, relationships
Travel plans and overdrafts.
And then as suddenly, they went,
Leaving behind them not empty
Nests. Who has time for that these days?
No, The space was quickly claimed
By siblings, home offices, upcycled
On Airbnb. Parents upped sticks, downshifted,
moved on, embraced this new beginning.
For time also, is procrastination’s thief.
And in our hearts, we knew
That when next summer came
They would be more rooted in the places
They had moved to, with flats,
Partners, part-time jobs, rents to pay.
They might not come back so much
Or very much at all, and we would
Not have or at least not soon, their time
that slow falling through the blue days
When they slept carelessly til noon,
The rolling buffet at the kitchen table
Hours curled up on the sofa, phones in hand,
Chatting while pairing socks or peeling spuds.
Those old rituals: I’m walking the dog
To the garage, fancy chumming me?
We’ll buy some sweets.