White Lilacs

Georgie Hoffman


Climb into the sea salty, sharp and clear
the surf and sky glimmer far too brightly to see
all at once and remember perfectly
The towels are striped and rough on your skin
grinding grains
of sand across your arms, your legs

The cups of tea are nothing like home, steaming and burning
in polystyrene cups
Bite into a cinnamon bun and smile for
the love of doughy, frosted mornings like this

Mornings by the waves, in sunglasses smudged with
sun cream gazing over lazy games of scrabble
and cheating
Writing postcards in the shade while waiting for the
shower to be free,
picking the perfect one to send where
and what to write to who

There’s iced tea sweating on the picnic table
while the best grilled cheese on earth is discussed and
located somewhere between Tampa and Jacksonville,
surrounded by alligators

A manicure with little white flowers and rhinestones on a purple background
is cherished, until the day it chips and the gems fall off into the sea
to join huge blue creatures under whale watching boats
where they wave and dive, jumping, hiding
and glowing in the
gloom of the depths

There are seashells everywhere

Crunching underfoot, lying in pots at gift shops
clinking in your mum’s pockets
soon to gather dust on the shelf in the kitchen
miles from home

The sun sets to the sound of a baseball game
on the radio, hopeful and summery

The night grows dark blue over vicious
and meticulous games of cribbage and glasses of
whisky so strong it sometimes hurts to look at

The fiery perfume is soothed away by
the soft smell of purple petals under the window,
and white lilacs by the front porch steps
washed clean and sweet in summer rain


Illustration by Georgie Hoffman and Clémence Prudome.

Illustration by Georgie Hoffman and Clémence Prudome.

Previously published in the UKCCWS Illustrated Anthology Vol. 4 (2017) with the accompanying illustration.

Georgie Hoffman is a student of English and American Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Kent. After a year abroad at Mount Holyoke College in Western Massachusetts, she will begin her final year at Kent in September. She is half English and half American and lives in south east London. Ideas for poems often come from things she has seen or heard people saying when walking around the city.