The Last Carry

You were seven and hadn’t asked
for one in months, but the salt wind
had whipped your energy away,
before a piled-up plate of squid
at our favourite place on the prom
had left you sagging in your seat.

Even as I threw you over
a shoulder and braced for the trudge
to our house, my back was hinting
at a future without your breath
tickling my neck, at you walking
beside us if we were lucky.