Drifting Away

As you go over the rim of the sea
into the dark ocean
I wave and wave
but the tide that bears you does not turn back.

It's only the photographs that carry a memory
that we ever did stand on the same earth together –

But you always had one foot on that boat,
even when it looked as if you were on dry land.

It was as if
one moment you were on a cliff
staring seaward: the next
you were all at sea,
drifting slowly farther and farther from land,
your gaze on the southern horizon –
the western light etching your profile,
an enigmatic statue in gold and black.

Your ears will not hear this song I make for you now –
just as they heard nothing when we stood together on the cliff
seemingly united in that photo.

   Like the gesture of someone turning
full of energy in slow motion
our eyelines locked for a protracted second:
– Did you see in me the call you could not answer?
– Did I see in you the burning minepit you thought sealed?

Or was it all the other way round –
after that photo –
did I drift out to sea
and you turn to walk inland?
The sun is evidence,
revealing both faces –
light and dark sides not quite matching …
but which is which?

And in the final ’copter shot spiraling skyward
I can no longer tell
who’s on firm ground and who is at sea.


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