What I promised the sea
I went down to the shore for the last time today: along the old lane, across the dunes, out to the very edge of the land where grey waves slapped half-heartedly against a spit of shingle, littered with tide-washed detritus: shapeless plastic, shredded nets, the rusted remains of an oil-drum.
Back then we swore an inseparable union; that our love would never die; tired old clichés from second-rate romances. It was high summer and we embraced in the pounding surf halfway between land and sea, not knowing or caring whether the tide was in ebb or flow, and after a flaming sunset gazing up at a meteor shower, salt water lapping around us. But then morning came, overcast and storm-threatening, and our oaths had bound us in heavy, barnacle-encrusted chains. We shared the horror of an eternity’s first day and the gulls carried our sold souls wailing towards the horizon.
I don’t know how the curse was lifted; perhaps the child who saw my shadow in the moonlight said the right prayer. I watched the splash of your tail as you turned in the water before sinking into my bed beneath the cemetery, finally able to sleep away the centuries.