You claimed I’d come back in the fishing boat
alone, greased with the old man’s blood
him slit open, tossed overboard, gnawed
by seals. No, I said. He was out there.
Your tale travelled. Now the town
kept its distance. Kids pitched stones.
You honed your grudge, blew it up
with a rumour, stirred the waters
of chaos. I took the form you made.
A bad spell. In the bath I scrubbed
and scrubbed. Nights I tramped the beach
shouting for the old man. He was out there.
Steadily waves broke on the bare shore.
My life was a foreign body, a lie.
Soon I’d find words to expose it.