You run away from me,
angry words pounding in my head
like the sound track to Romper Stomper,

sound bites, piling up, shifting
like the heavy oiled bodies
of dead birds in the latest spill.

You run off so fast,
your small body disappears along the sandy path,
a bubbler crab retreats down a hole.

I wait for anger to subside
and the thoughts to slowly die,
like a fish that cannot breathe,

but those thoughts are smothered
completely, like a campfire suffocated by dirt,
when you fail to return.

A stranger passing a report,
I saw the boy mucking about
on the sand-dunes.

I run along a grey beach,
storm clouds gather
like black-garbed mourners at the graveside.

I am dizzy as I drain of blood,
a free-falling skydiver
waiting for the shute to open,

where are you?

Endless, scalloped sand-dunes
line up like soldiers in a silent honour parade,
contents piled up in regular mounds.

My insides erode like the sand-dunes
as time passes,
every mound looks newly formed.

It is too dark to see
so I stumble home for help,

and there you are, my son,

your eyes dark as the storm,
your spiky hair strewn with sand and leaves,
clothes dishevelled,
but your arms in the air, surrendering.

I embrace you,
and you bury your head in my shirt.

I have already surrendered.


If this sounds a bit familiar it is because I wrote a little blog called ‘precious children’ about the incident some time ago.

This poem is based on an exercise I did, using the poem ‘Feared Drown’ by Sharon Olds – who is known to like the use of similes.