Nines in the Sand

by Richard Vince

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Repeat until it sounds profound,
Until it begins to form a circle
Instead of an unfinished idea
That merely stops after a comma.

Perhaps it would be completed by
A part of my brain that is
As absent as the second half
Of the sentence.

The dunes are long gone,
Even the small parts of them
I tried to bring home between
My young toes.

That is the memory to which
I always return, brighter
Than the half remembered house,
Tall trees outside, clarinet
Standing neatly in the corner.

The tide took my footprints
From the beach but not
From my heart. Eight summers,
And still its shape has not
Recovered, bends forming
Weaknesses where once it was
Folded to fit the wrong box.

Will the border city ever see
My triumphant return?

When I make it to the coast,
The ghosts will be waiting:
A memory that makes no sense,
And an echo so strong it could
Only have begun in my teens.

There was also the darkness
In between, but that never
Died; it merely fell asleep
In my heart. It waits.


Author's Note: With thanks to Lytisha Tunbridge, for telling me about a poetry competition for which this piece would not be eligible.

Posted on 03/06/2024
Copyright © 2024 Richard Vince

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