Beachwalking

1 February 2012

I let a man take me to the sea
one night, when the moon was
cut exactly in half. I held one
piece in my hand and threw the
other into the tide, watching it
shiver underwater as though it was
only a reflection of itself. It was
colder than it should have been, and
we traced the lip of the beach at the
point where it slipped into wetness,
the sand shimmering, and watched a
horse plough its hooves into an
ephemeral route, and fire sparking
from the stalls of corn vendors. The
church glimmered in the distance.
When this man took my hand, I did
not even notice if it warmed me;
too distracted was I by the piece of
moon sinking, hopeless, at my feet.

You have been gone a very long time.
And so I wear a dress the colour of
night, ornaments like stars, and I
sing down the sky as though I knew its
secrets, as though I knew anything at
all. I confuse the scent of my skin with
that of the wind breaching the stillness
of the morning bay. I watch men leave
the country on boats like floating
lanterns and return as the horizon
begins to burn up in cinders. I watch
them throw and seize in their nets,
what they capture glistening in the
fading light, and think of how you
didn’t hold up your end of the dream,
how you left me waiting with my piece,
pacing the length of a forgotten coast.

I go to the sea with man after man
and let myself be licked all over
by tongues of water. But what good
is it to stand in the ocean, to break
upon the shore, to look out at
all this all this gravity and darkness
and sea, such sea, and find not even
one single ounce of salt.

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