I came down to the sea for the first time
The sun came down
with me and played in the waves, as
I stood, recalling the time in May;
we came to swim and were frozen -
and, remembering, I could not go in.
I was not afraid (as I was with
you) to climb over rocks, brave
snakes in the dunes - not squeamish
when bare foot touched treacherous
weed. I tickled a starfish
in a pool, but it did not shine -
not like other times.
I scraped your name on a stone, waited
for a smooth piece of sea, then
sent it skimming, sinking. But
the seven ripples it made meant
nothing to me - you were not there
to pretend that you had not seen.
Hours I searched, high-tide-mark,
through debris, desperate
to find your screwed-up hand inside
the bottle we sent out wave-ward
months ago. I know
for sure that it must be waterlogged,
sunken, far-flung free, now.
I printed your name on a sandbank, but three
feet away, I could no longer read
the strange scrawl, nor see
your footprints stretch back as a mirror
I came down to meet a piece of you by the sea today -
but you were not there.
And so, in salty tears, was I washed away.
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