by Tom McLaughlin

Read by Tom McLaughlin



Your mother calls you crying as we ride

mountainbikes downhill with foreigners.

She is inconsolable, can’t abide


letting go of the boy who has brought her

sliced apples and water in bed twenty three

years in this godforsaken city where


fruit ripens twice a year in dazzling plenty

while young men wait their prime out listening

at the door of others’ lives unhappily.


Twenty three years and you’ve grown tired waiting

for the moment to release your stifled

sighs, to open your mouth and finally sing.


We reach the hill’s bottom, breathless, baffled

by grief’s reach and the ways a life unravels.




On wild Tayrona’s sacred shores you stood

naked, ankle-deep in water turbid as

your family home, while your mind emptied.


No quiero volver a usar ropa mas

nunca. That night we slept in a tent high

in the mountains and all existence was


spread out glistening below us like a ripe

mango waiting to drop or to be picked.

We resolved to live seperately and I


imagined the Atlantic between our lips

even as I watched your eyelashes

cast a shadow under my fingertips.


Reluctant to receive your baffling riches,

l lay thinking of cool, damp, forest mosses.