A desert underneath
The crooked line that makes the shore
Which calms and curls the sand back
To an image of itself.
The winding pull of water still
Remembers every grain of sand
It’s hot rough essence, the quiet still
At the bottom of the current
On the crest of a dune. It calls out
With a winded hush, what matters now
Is water, what has always been,
what will never be
Enough. A desert underneath,
takes time to quench.
They came to see the death
–even my mother, who turns from the evening news–
shuffled quickly to the edge and bent to better see.
The air was sweet with the prayers of strangers
and yet, they came to see the death
to witness the unyielding bay
which swells on the rocks and tempts
even the bravest to jump,
a dare–perhaps–an urge.
On this day, we stood quietly, hands wrung
while they searched for the swimmer
who was not swimming
who was surely lost.
we count first on our fingers
in bundles of five,
the places we have seen
the people we would visit
then we count from memory
the houses whose doors are yellow
standing out against rusted drainpipes
taking a second moment before
becoming grey in the passing view.
We watched the compounding skyline
which began as rooftops but became high-rises;
a wooden rendering of our own jourey,
which began on foot and boarded the railcar.
You, looking at me from behind our father’s glasses,
offer up a sigh of relief–we are moving now.
Moving on to something else.
We were young but I remember a sense of longing
an emptiness only time can fill,
following the footpaths of cobbled alleys
knowing a home-land in a place I’d never been.