Long Strand


The waves tumble forward 

– as waves tend to do –

the rocks roll back 

then root themselves in sunken grandeur

they are the splendour of the sand

lineaments of lineage

forgotten

yet remembered in the imprint

of our footprints.

Press, sink, root, rise

rhythm of these tides and tied-up feet

interlaced 

I watch the families 

storm the beach.

the run and amble of them

birds puffed 

to flight

in the flap of jacketed wings 

the height of excitement

faff of play and spaded chase 

while lag of encumbered trail behind 

their puff a wheeze in the trundle 

under the bundle of layers 

abandoned

to the mildness

by the Michelin men dissembling

shedding to resurrecting

in the ebbing of enthusiasm.

I watch them,

one year older

one beloved less

one number more 

than before 

these scattered armies 

and forming parties

I like the procession

of their concession

to this day 

this picking up of shells and putting down of phones 

the skip and flick of skimming stones 

as they push out and on to January grey

and into earth remade 

in reach and breach of this 

tongued beast.

She is a lick 

a slap

a hug

a shrugging decline 

nonchalance and romance 

scattering skeletal kisses 

in the slope of shoreline. 

Holed runners carry her

brined saliva home.

Up the soft carpeted stairs

past the ribboned cat

sleeping dog 

a mother humming dinner into being 

sister perched in pajamaed abstraction

I drizzle sand like sugar

on my pilgrimage to the shower

anoint the house with its grit and gumption

before the inevitable scrub of unctions

but I am not washing away

the salt does not sit on skin

to be felled to extinction 

in toss, tumble of life 

these years are not to be rubbed to tenses of 

past present future

eroded to should haves. dids. must dos.

they rub me to smoothness 

roll me towards pearled perfection

world, I am learning.

As her salt sits silted in my heart

stinging apathy to action 

soothing ache to acceptance 

solidifying home into something

 as simple as a smell – 

the waft of the Atlantic –

 I think

– I was always bad at geography.

I step out into the soft towel.

pull the starched clouds around me.

I am not new

but there is newness to be made in me

in the wipe of mirror

clear and cleanse of steam

 to smile old and gaze clean. 

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