West Pier

It may have been the 1970s

it may have been Brighton

but no one can confirm
when my father saved a pier

I was railing high
navigating the gaps in the planks
with a slender fear

a cheap thrill
as you walked above the sea

and below

under the bolted timber

waves hypnotised the iron work

the tang of salt over candyfloss
was taken up like Friars Balm
through your head

As we passed the rides Dad saw smoke

a daft smoulder rising up from the deck
and we stopped


to look
for timbers

for them burning

but it was just a cigarette butt
still curling


as he was at work

called out to an attendant
and the fag was drowned
with a red bucket marked ‘FIRE’