All the Important Things Curracloe Beach, July 2016 Only last week we walked here, raincoats throat-zipped, scarfs doubled, a curious seal our sole company. The sand, a shade between cement and cardboard, released fine powder, whipped ankle skin. Two horses thundered past; You swam here? he said, and made me wonder if time had distorted it all, if the flipbooks were real— Did I really, age nine and nut-brown, fossick for pretty shells, eat hard-boiled eggs and scallions, drink Tupperware-tea after my third dip of the day? Today, he has left for Moscow, but I have my answer: the sky— kite-ribboned, Falcon-brochure blue. Hoards throng in every shade of sunburn, white and bottle-tan. Mothers—ankle deep—hike skirts, mark toddlers. Candy-striped windbreakers stake out territory keeping sand off lubed backs and lacquered boobs. Installed on deckchairs, leeward, women cluck and sizzle, Sure this is better than Spain, talk of the best swimsuit for an even tan, the antics of kids, husbands, the important things. My youngest, lithe in triangle bikini, trawls the littoral zone for tiny clams in mauves and peachy pinks, each with a pinhole at the apex, perfect for a necklace. The road tar has melted on the way back to cars parked in ditches. Outside the games arcade, teens eye each other off as practice material; it could be Curracloe Beach 1986, the year we dredged the sea for our parish priest. Or, for that matter, Rush Beach 1976, cars in a prairie-wagon ring, jelly-fish brandished at terry- towelled girls and a sun-worshipper, caught off guard in a cross- your-heart bra. The seal has fled to warmer waters, like my love, who believes all this was invented by a woman far from home.
Audrey Molloy is an Irish poet based in Sydney. Her work has most recently appeared in The North Magazine, Mslexia, Magma Poetry, The Moth Magazine, The Irish Times and The Tangerine. In 2019 she received the Hennessy Award for Emerging Poetry, the Listowel Writers' Week Award for Irish Poem of the Year and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. Her debut pamphlet Satyress was published by Southword Editions in 2020. Website: www.audreymolloy.com