2 May 2013

All my life

Poet, Sarah Broom














So we sat, and the waves
crashed in like gifts, or insults,
and the children played,
digging trenches to defend
against the sea, and then a head
bobbed up and down
in the waves, a bit too far out,
and an arm waved, and again,
and a friend walked the beach,
waving the head in, and we sat
and said to each other
do you know that Stevie Smith
poem, not waving but drowning –
yes, and why is it still so hard to tell,
and then we stood and watched
as the inscrutable head bobbed up
and down and the arm still waved
and the children still dug, bodies
roughcast with sunscreen and sand,
and we thought about getting the
lifeguards, but surely the friend
should know, and we thought
about how there should be a sign,
you know, two punches in the air,
or something like that, yes,
then a surfer came and paddled
him in on his board, and the friend
helped him walk, and yes he was
drowning, not waving, now we know,
and isn’t it hard to tell?
---------

© Sarah Broom, 2010
Taken from: Tigers at Awhitu by Sarah Broom, Auckland University Press, 2010
Posted on Poéfrika with permission.

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