David Toms

Borderlands & Beach Parentheses

David Toms

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Borderlands

Hradek nad Nisou to Poland.

A walk of ease, a walk of leisure.

Three hours / three countries.


North of Liberec

(Reichenberg in German) Oldřichov Na Hranicích –

a border town bleeds into Kopaczów, Poland.


A dirt road to Porajów.

We crossed over a tiny stretch of the Neisse into Germany.

Lužická Nisa. Lausitzer Neiße. Nysa Łużycka.


Three names. One river. One river. Three borders.

One river. Three countries. One day. Three beers.

The 54 kilometre mark. The border / river / crossing.


This juncture:

Of history. Of line drawing. Of hate.

Difference and definition.


The Oder-Neisse line. Potsdam. Munich.

Water drenched in division.  Poland’s western border. The northern tip of Bohemia.

ČechyBöhmenCzechy. The edge of Saxony. SachsenSaskoSaksonia.


Babel’s babbling brook.

We stopped in Žitava. ZittauŽytawa.

The differences miniscule, yet maximised.


This enticing interstice: Sudety. Sudetenland. Kraj Sudetów.

The hoped for lebensraum.

Ma Vlást. My homeland.


Our triangulation

Our proof positive

I will not draw the line for you


One more line will add nothing

through such lines I would strike

another erasing those that exist.


Beach Parentheses

Balding, bare-headed dune of sand

Marram hair

Set into the sandsoft skull

grain stitching grown together


Bright-painted, waist-coated,

sea-sprinkled fingerpointer

watcher of waves from brickwhite tower

ship’s protector


David Toms


David Toms lives and works in Norway, although he is originally from Waterford, Ireland. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Banshee, The Stinging Fly, The Penny Dreadful, Translation Ireland and other journals. His first collection, Soma | Sema, was released in 2012.