The water washed your name
away from the sand; nothing holds:
Look at this changing, each day
wears a fresh smell, carrying

Old odours with it. We continue
despite the rise and fall of the sea.
Its lace wiping the slate an imaginary
clean. Footprint it, there

Again we have carved in
the old weakness, the old pain
On the new sheen. The sands
pull, pull underfoot back to the sea

Obeying their own deep order.
While you, rise, gull sharp in my mind;
The shell lies perfectly empty.
The waves pound and pound.

© Anne Le Marquand Hartigan

From Long Tongue, published by Beaver Row Press, 1982


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