Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015



Ross Gillett

  The dunes are simmering.
  Sand swarms across the beach at ankle height.
  I tell you
  it all remembers you.
  This daybreak darkness,
  the obsessive surf,
  our old future.
  If you have a promise to keep
  be sure it isn’t broken first.
  You came back from these corners of the sea,
  these angles of land,
  a born mermaid.
  I tasted the salt on your lips,
  peeled the scales from your shoulders.
  Your sun-blasted innocence convinced me.
  I should have seen
  the night sky in your eyes.
  I should have looked for moonburn.
  The sea keeps beaching itself,
  sliding big sentences up the slope
  in a hissed scrawl.
  It knows something.
  It won’t stop
  giving me its overlapping hints,
  its sprawling news.
  The oceanic script
  sizzles and fades.
  Tell me about that rogue summer,
  you and your perfect stranger
  making a home of this loose shore.
  I want traces
  of the pressure you put on each other,
  signs of your settling in.
  I am looking for what’s left
  of the shadows of clothing,
  the remains of your whispers.
  Tell me
  the story.
  Lean on your elbow
  and let me have it, your slanted narrative.
  How everything
  turned on almost nothing, 
  a beach cliché.
  Those long crashing whispers of ocean. 
  Then something about the bravery of strangers
  losing themselves in each other’s lives.
  How we take to betrayal.
  I wonder if truth
  is always like this,
  the brand new thing that’s been happening for ever.
  The flash of surf at night.
  Being this close
  while sleep threatens,
  the decades intervene
  and your story
  wraps itself around me in the dark.