‘Chasing Rainbows’ by Jill Abram

Chasing Rainbows

          I am trekking in the arid centre
          where willy willies lift terracotta dust
          onto my skin to stick by sweat
          kilned by sun until I am claybound

I used to get stuck in the same traffic jam at the same motorway junction every morning.

          swimming in gentle aquamarine
          among kaleidoscopes of coral and fish
          alongside soft white sand
          strolled over by soldier crabs

I arrived in the office in the concrete block in the industrial park after Robert and Peter, Henry came next then Tim who brewed up.

          tramping through tropical jungle
          avoiding roots, stinging leaves and webs
          where spiders which could cover your face
          lurk in hope of smaller prey

Canteen lunch was roast, shepherd’s pie, sausages, stew and fish on Fridays.

          rafting down a river
          bumping off rocks
          seeing flashes of electric blue
          as Ulysses butterflies open their wings

I drank a lot of coffee to break up the day with trips across utilitarian grey carpet to the kitchenette and the toilet.

          standing on a cliff
          which drops to the sea
          the beach widens as the escarpment
          retreats from the ocean

We went to the White Hart together every Friday as if we would miss each other over the weekend.

          surfing out to sea
          across foaming breakers
          fighting wind and tide
          to reach the far horizon.

It took thirty-three hours on a cheap flight with seven stops in five countries and three continents.

          As I expand into the spaces of this country
          I realise I need to stretch this much
          to get back to where I started
          and to start again.
(previously published in Domestic Cherry, 2014
Jill Abram is Director of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen – a collective of writers who focus on craft, community and development – and a member of Tideway Poets. She grew up in Manchester and now lives in London, though went via Australia (among other places). She presents her poems regularly in London and occasionally further afield, including Ledbury Poetry Festival and USA.