If this is love

Back when I was five, I used to stick yellow Hula
Hoops on my fingers and pretend to be engaged. Tiny
hands all salty, our big maroon-grey rescue Mastiff
– a girl, like me – licked them clean. Bundled in duffel
coats and balaclavas we’d meet Dad at Seal Sands
after work, watch the black-footed Little Stints wade
in the froth by the pipeline.

Dad had a stroke in the year that Lady had her first
litter. The nurse taught me to inject Lovenox (“if this is
love,” we’d grimace) straight into his stomach. He
was so angry, that’s what kept him with us so long.

But last year, we threw Dad’s ashes on the Estuary,
and skimmed stones after him.

I love walking by water, talking to him.

In pink jeans, walking Lady’s daughter (all grey now)
by the chilly inlet off Scotts Road, I catch a sapphire
sparkle – steel hoops and a furled wire net – “Planet’s
Biggest Public Art Project”, the Gazette said. Far
across the water, in silhouette, one giant loop is a
half-inch circlet. My ring finger fits right inside it.

Gallery texts written to accompany an exhibition by Annie O’Donnell, taken from a conversation with Becky Hunter. Submitted by Marika Rose.