Sunburn by Ciaran Parkes

Sunburn

Remember sunburn. Your whole skin
turning red and peeling
off in delicious layers

after the pain had gone.
No sunblock to be found anywhere, using
anything you could find

instead. Baby oil maybe, beauty cream.
Remember checking
the slow tide lines of tan, pressing

arms and legs together
for comparison. Remember freckles
spreading out across your face

like raindrops and how you couldn’t sleep
all night, sheets burning
against your heated skin. Remember

the cool plunge of swimming,
how good it felt and looking down
to see your legs, pale and distorted

by the wavering water, and maybe
a crab, scuttling sideways, reaching
up its delicate claws towards you.

by Ciaran Parkes

Editor’s Note: This poem’s imagery centers on nostalgia with a myriad of scents and touch and sights, holding childhood closer to the surface than one would expect.