Only the Dogs
Outside kids sweat laughter during a game of kerbs
A toddler, no sun hat, bangs a stick off a barrel. Otto
wakes beside me on the duvet, neck muscles taut,
ears pricked, a prolonged crook-toothed growl.
Neddy shifts from my feet down to the slick shade
of the window ledge. He yawns in passive assessment.
You call and I rise from my side of the bed, picking
steps between dog and floor until I’m in the hall.
You have it all packed up, boxed and bare, as empty
as that field beyond the balcony, the sun's nugatory effort
in multiplication, clumps of clay that disintegrate on touch
like our lost seedlings slipping their way through memory.
If I left now only the dogs would follow me.
Suspended, floating face-down on moonlit water,
suspecting the waves endless lull that lures
you back to the beach, drifting in that dark rift
of skyline and shore where every shell contains
a creature that must breathe underwater...
hammer heart unsteady, you kick once more,
lungs grasping for air— and oh, your fingers brush
sand — knees scrabbling, gasping, you emerge
with sleep-locked eyes in the same dry clothes.