The ocean washes against the old
beach fort that has shrunk
beside the backdrop of my age.
There's still the heap of rotting boats
under the dry, spiky shrubbery, blue
and yellow, Red Dawns, and Lias,
beaten by the weather and the fishermen.
At the wharf, in places now rotten
through, we would fish with rods
twice as tall as us. You filled
the bucket with bass and mackerel,
I cried in secret failing as an angler. Once,
you pricked my toe with the fishhook
and kissed my mouth to silence me,
you smelled of soap and salt and your lips
were chapped from the sun, your fingers
on my cheeks callous and scratched,
hot against my goosefleshed skin.
I almost feel your ghostly lips as I dare
a step or two across the planks of the pier,
and there, ahead in the slanting sun
I imagine your tan back stooping
down to count the fish and brag.
I see you prance around the towels
laid out by classy city girls
who came to sunbathe and swept you
away like a breathless twister.
That summer I became too small,
only a dot on your horizon, my sails
patched and weathered, sinking
with no one to come to the rescue.
Years after, I still trail the sand slopes
for that shell I found and wanted
to give to you but lost.
I haunt these dunes, old
and washed out, still looking.
I don't want to know if you do too.
There's too much sand between
then and now, too many storms
crashing against the beach,
spilling the sand grains over
that lost shell without a dweller.
One step is far too short to run
back to all those buried years.
words: Brigita Pavsic, Slovenia (soul flowers)
image: Greta Bolger (more & more)
another sand slope trail: Where did we go? (#7)