TONY GRIST

  

Big Old Bush

It's odd how you can live with a person
Three full years and remember so little...

The very first Christmas I spent with her
I went for a walk in the hills on my own
(It was very damp. It was very still.)
Which was cruel of me, but we'd come together
Through need and not from the fellow feeling
That makes a marriage.

She'd crisp, thick hair
And very small breasts (she was bothered about them),
Secrets too that she wouldn't share,
Which ate her up.

At the end she remarked
In a choked back voice, it was thanks to me,
Because I was callous and wouldn't work,
That she'd gained the bottle to fend for herself.
This hurt at the time, but I think, on reflection,
I did her no harm.

It was sex that kept us
Sweet for so long. I remember dragging
Her orange trousers down round her knees
And doing it scratchily, standing up,
In a big, old rhododendron bush
On a thirsty summer's afternoon
In the early days. She was flighty then.