Up to my ankles
and refusing to go any deeper, I stood
shivering at the shore’s edge,

watched you wade out, further and further,
water catching the hem
of your dress as the wind made
your hair a flag against the lying sky.

Waves broke around you, ran
themselves to death at my feet
trying to carry tales of glory sprawling
down to the seabed, down

into history trapped into happening for
eternity, where weight is weightless,
where light has no place and treasure
paves the ocean floor with old shells and glass
the shades of the endless sea.

Or maybe it was you filling my head
that day with those stories, you
speaking a language long dead on land,
telling me that you had left

a piece of yourself down there
in the salt-crusted sand, waiting for me
to reach for you over the water,
even as I realized how I must fail

you, how I had buried
my anchors high on the beach – how you were
the depths I could not drown in, the question
I could not be an answer for.