Herring Cove, 1997

In April we stood here together when you asked me to
perform this ritual. The dark waters of the Spring

Atlantic chilled, gulls screeched overhead, and in the
dunes, early morning – or was it late night – lovers

intertwined, stuck together with the morning dew. You
kissed me on the lips, as though that were the true

moment when we said our goodbyes. A froth of tide
lapped frayed cuffs as we shared a perfect moment.

And now, carrying you, jeans rolled up, saltwater chills
my naked feet, fingers play a random cadence on your

chilled skin. The cove sleeps on this foggy March
morning. We once walked on the beach to forget the

night sweats and the nightmares; some mornings the
mind’s will was greater than the body’s. We’d felt the

sharp grains beneath our feet, made love in the dunes,
while you still knew who I was, who you were.

Water licks the cuffs of my jeans, brings me back; I tilt
the cold hard vessel to the earth, memories catch in the

wind, ride on the dark, turbulent surface of the water,
sink into the grasp of the undertow. Once a two hundred

and ten pound man, you became a shadow; and now, this.
I wait for the tide to give rest to your bones, for an

understanding that won’t come, the catharsis that I desire.
“I’ll carry you,” I’d said, and now, our final goodbye.

© 1997-2014 – B. Scott Hoadley