Guest Poem by Jeff Skinner

A librarian in another life, Jeff’s poems have been published in competition anthologies and in journals including Poetry News, Prole, South, Poetry Salzburg, Fenland Poetry Journal, and Orbis. Third in the 2021 Poetry Space competition, he received a “special mention” in this year’s Coast to Coast to Coast competition. When he’s not reading, writing, or playing football, he volunteers at Exeter Food Bank and in his local Oxfam bookshop. This poem is from Acumen 107.

Returning to the Island

you see now
what you missed the first time

children playing in the streets, barking dogs,
balconies of bikes, flowers, shirts drying
like this

Boats bob uncertainly in the harbour

The sun is going down
taking the day with it – children, dogs, bikes, flowers –
they all go into the dark

Sun blood mingles
with the water; a book of night
is opening, colour plates of the passeggiata

bottle-green nightlife catching the light,
forgotten words. Vespas buzz
in and out. At the end of the street

a quiet church, which despite its whiff
of incense and bling, you’re unable to resist
resting with others on a candlelit pew

is consoling – God knows – always

Right now though, someone in a hot kitchen cooks for you
lamb, studded with rosemary, and behold –
a gelato moon shining on your table