Cards, did you ever stand? Or was my brilliant house of hearts,
young fumbling fingers darting in to rebuild broken parts,
a childish and imagined thing dreamed up by chilly rooms?
Do you recall the way we played on Sunday afternoons?
In our separate world were marbles, and a box of dominoes,
each indent to be thumbed, the numbers nought to six in rows,
each globe a tiny planet trapped, in subtle colour rolled,
all added up when I was very young and they were old.
And when they called me in at last, I boxed and bagged my friends,
to leave disgruntled kings and queens and keepsies in the end.
One hand still cupped around a shell in which I hear the sea,
I peer through dust of lemon cake washed down with grown-up tea.