The distances between us

The summer. The summer it all started
when I first saw your colour, hard against rocks bleached grey in the sun,
the far side of too far of water, clear water green in the light-slanted light.
The rocks tipped down to the edge and below; their shadows hid emptiness.
I thought once of swimming, of diving deep down and strong re-emerging,
hauling myself, bleeding hands and torn muscles,
hauling myself through the force of my shoulders,
hauling myself up to where you stood watching.
The thought cut my skin to the bone so, so well that I knew me,
I raised a weak hand and then covered my eyes.
 
But somehow it happened. By Ferragosto I knew you.
And then with the swifts you were gone.
 
The distance. Distance in the tele-world today has no meaning
they tell us. The kilometres between us we filled up with words.
My words described you blank pictures, wide sweeps of a charcoal,
no hatching, no shading, no colouring in.
You told me you tasted, you rolled my words on your tongue,
you felt their soft flavour, their texture, my thought.
They excite you at distance.
I sweated the words as I carefully planned them,
then wiped them away at a stroke
except the ones with the salt of the sea,
with the salt of the earth and of blood.
 
And somehow again the light from the lighthouse,
the light from the lighthouse that catches the stars,
across the dark sea you caught sight of a message.
And you came.
 
The last distance of all is the worst distance, of nearness.
Though we live in same rooms, on parallel planes
our lives slide like our thoughts.
Grey eyes show your mind elsewhere than where I am,
your life you remember and your life you imagine
have more meaning than ours.
 
But still, and remember, in our closeness there has to be hope.
Remembering rocks and remembering lighthouse,
I will wait here in silence. Ready to speak.
 

First published in itch: THE CREATIVE JOURNAL Issue 15 http://www.itch.co.za/home

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