Amanda Huggins

Amanda Huggins

Amanda Huggins is the author of the forthcoming novella All Our Squandered Beauty, as well as four collections of short fiction and poetry. She was a runner-up in the Costa Short Story Award 2018 and her prize-winning story, ‘Red’, features in her latest collection, Scratched Enamel Heart. In 2020 she won the Colm Toibin International Short Story Award and her poetry chapbook, The Collective Nouns for Birds won the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. Amanda grew up on the North Yorkshire coast, moved to London in the 1990s, and now lives in West Yorkshire.


They showed me other countries,
always talking of the light,
and I still recall flashes of fuchsia
and dozing, shuttered villas
glimpsed from windows on the morning train.

My mother, slim and tan in her cartwheel hat,
would read aloud to us from the guidebook,
suggesting the basilica, the teatro, the frescoes,
and my father would call a halt for beer
in the shade of the colonnade.
We’d wander across the piazza,
urge shopkeepers to spread out
silver bangles and Murano beads,
unfurl silk scarves that billowed like parachutes,
only for my mother to shake her head.

And now, in the park,
I recall the blue, blue, blue of the sea,
remember petals fluttering into the villa pool,
cupping half-drowned insects in my hands
and watching them rest
a few moments in the sun
before flying away on luminous wings.

I see a woman by the bowling green
in a hat just like my mother’s,
and think to myself, that if she were here
we’d talk of the light,
of the gold-blue light of a Mediterranean afternoon.

Poetry in this post: © Amanda Huggins
Published with the permission of Amanda Huggins