Outwards the land resembles nothing so much as dried gravy:
the trees stunted, the rocks sparse, the coast smoothed over by the trowel of time
And the sea, which echoes the land’s voice, undulates like greasy rubber under a sullen sky
|image by Mostafa Habibi|
Our boat lumbered in, took passengers and creased its way off again
I’ve watched the oars lift and plunge, scoop the oozing sea into bucketsful of argument,
catch political crabs, imagined diplomacies, crossing floors and times
I’ve seen no ferryman drive those blades, no solid being rooted in flesh
only the empty thwarts creak as if under load,
the grunt of wood and sigh of shackle and spin
We waited in silence for light and dark to pass
we waited in eager ignorance, believing always in the craft
self-propelling to our shores.
It is our choice and our creed: Be ready to embark
The others have gone across the shingle,
leaving tainted air where they passed.
I stood and watched them go.
I am buried now, age laps me, the sky lowers
the dinghy returns for one last trip
Ferryman ships the dripping oars
now he waits for me, restless.
My limbs respond to the call,
I am walking, skipping through shallows, stepping aboard.
The keel grinds on sand, heavy with my imagined weight
Ferryman poles off the shore
then flicks the oars into their locks:
with a cry – I hear his voice! – he pulls away.
The sea becomes the air: we fly.
We, who once
Thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the prompt. Other journeys may be found here