They strew themselves about the house, still trying to look useful, relevant: the grey Nikes from my first half marathon in Lancaster, just short of a sub two hours. I bumped into Kim Moore at the end, drinking tea. She’d been back a while. I sometimes wear them to the shops, in fields, on beaches, in sand dunes. The last time I put them on I was reminded of a trip to Holy Island by invasive piri piri burrs.
The blue and yellow trail shoes that share affinities with Leeds United: always dirty in their day, always ready for a cameo when a medal’s up for grabs, never beaten, until the embers of injury time. They ran me from Liverpool to Manchester when the Beast from the East returned for a mean and memorable encore, 12 hours and fifty fucking miles of rain and snow in biblical downpours; a final lap of a rugby field in Didsbury, that felt more like a park run in a monsoon.
The black and white pair that have scaled the moors, the lanes, the paths and bridleways for a thousand miles or more since we tipped up in Laycock. They have no traction left but look smashing with blue jeans and an AC/DC t shirt.
The pair of ADIDAS that got me through a marriage break up, took me more miles on the canal than a Hinny or Pit Pony and every mile of 26 and a bit in Edinburgh, from cobbled street to sea at Portobello. I wear them when I haven’t been myself to remind me I can get through anything.
We are mums in wetsuits Our bums are big Our stomachs round Our breasts strain against the thick, black neoprene We are zipped in and ready.
We are mums in wetsuits We hold our body boards towards the sky And stride into the salt. We watch our daughters float and fly on wave back far out we do not fear for them For we have raised them Us, the fucking fearless mums in wetsuits. Strength courses through us Our cores of flint That birthed those long limbed girls And edged them on into the crowning, dancing waves shouting ‘swim!’
We are mums in wetsuits We packed lunches and suncream Rugs and spare pants Towels and raincoats Wind breaks and footballs Hats and crisps and drinks and spades We buy ice cream and chips We towel and wipe and dry, And clap our cricketing, sharp angled freckled boys.
We are mums in wetsuits Laughing in the gasping, surging break As the surf takes hold. Salt crusts in our crows feet, mascara streams down our faces and on to the wind whipped pink cheeks of our girlhoods.
We are mums in wetsuits We are in chest deep. Somewhere in the pale blue distance a sandy toddler cries Our ears are filled with rushing water And we answer no child’s call But thrust our greying heads into the center of the wave And feel it rise And fall.
he says fuck off an act of selfless grace and surfs on waves of pain curled by her distaste echoes break on shores in broken conch shells her whispers of fled love amplify ungainly and again
he surfs waves of pain curled by her distaste her dishonest silence closet-cowardice end-freighted her whispers of fled love amplify ungainly and again he dares gather push her out beyond his spurned hungers
her dishonest silence closet-cowardice end-freighted stirs his pity to one last act intimate with knowing love he dares gather push her out beyond his spurned hungers she/sweeps/away/ on fast currents he washed-out remains
stirs his pity to one last act intimate with knowing love echoes break on shores in broken conch shells she sweeps away on fast currents he/washed-out/remains he says fuck off an act of selfless grace
Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017. She believes everyone’s voice counts.