Islander

I can just about see the whites of the breakers hitting the shore
as we glide through to the ground in a halo of flashing lights
there have been many years in which this place felt mythical
but now, walking through the airport, it is awash with dated tiles
and it feels all too real.

Perhaps I should not have returned and let this island retain
the vestiges of its mystery, like an enchanted rock jutting from the ocean
in the Odyssey and Aeneid, with its shell houses, tan cattle
washed-out turrets, concrete barricades and endless tunnels
in which its history can barely be contained.

It is only in the fires and the people that I see that lasting glimmer
of a life lived in wartime and time spent knitting red squares.
Holding fast to papers and books and stories never written down
all while the butter softens before the fire for tonight’s dinner
and the dogs sleep curled together.