Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Newlyweds

Overheard: You’re not part of this conversation.

Where it took me: I used this line in conjunction with an exercise to imagine talking to one’s parents at the age they conceived you. That’s a conversation we are not part of, whatever choice they end up making.

The poem

The Newlyweds

They have this conversation by the shore in Maine
the summer that the cities burn.
It’s a bit of a beach, no pull for tourists.
Its north end is violent rock,
stone and ocean flung over and over.
Toward the south the rocks flatten.
A patch of sand the size of a picnic blanket
dries when the tide retreats.

To get there, they pick their way across the boulders.
She complies to shoes for the climb,
dismisses them the moment her toes touch sand;
the tug of history primal beneath her feet.
He keeps his laces tied.

They come here to taste the salt that proves
how small a decision it is
whether to bring a child into this inflamed world.
Their talk ebbs and flows.
Words skip across the surface, bounce and sink.
Her toes dig holes where she sits,
touch one intact shell, 
its details miniscule and complete.

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