Arts + Scene » Poetry

Untitled, for my first unrequited love



The place of my birth
is reaching out to me
like Janus,
with its tentacles,
sea-salty and

We remember the ocean as children:
watching the water flow in and out,
the glistening anemones and the sand dollars,
the sea urchins,
the fresh air
and our mothers in their dresses.
I gave the first boy that I ever loved
a plastic trowel and bucket
on the dunes
and he gave me a book called Thumbelina.
We were both five.

I remember Thumbelina even now:
how she knitted lace for her parents
with her tiny fingers,
her arranged marriage to the mole,
the sparrow that set her free;

and then, back to the long, seasonal exodus
that queues while the lilies of the Valley
turn and show themselves;
the heat,
the noise,
the excess of the city,
as the fickle surf creeps up again,
to wash,
to christen,
to choke,
and then to bathe its long fingers,
like the poem.

Katy Hartridge


Add a comment