Your voice is hurt, with fractured vowels.
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‘What don’t I understand?’
I stroke it smooth:
My brain's free arm is seeking consonance,
to span this subtle chasm you can’t see.
It’s ankle-deep, and wide as the Atlantic.
On a solitary shoreline
I squat on my heels
folding patience into paper boats.
They’re beautiful, my boats
So eloquent with love and living,
with anecdote and idiom,
odd dialects, pop culture, urban myth.
They land as ruined relics,
if they take the wind at all
Their careful creases soaked and dumb,
bright cargoes slopped ashore as sodden salvage.
(You sweep the debris up
with little whisks of neutral smalltalk:
you're polite, but unimpressed.)
When I run out of paper,
I cup both hands
to salt-stained mouth
and holler words like ‘homesick’.
On distant sands
your stick-man silhouette brings hands to ears,
miming a semaphore of mute enquiry.
Then he reaches, titanic, across the flood,
gathers me up
in universal language.
Pressed to your chest
I barely notice
if my boats ship water,
sink five fathoms deep in foam-capped silence.
These are our good times:
Days of drought,
of parted seas and roses.
Nights shared speechless
under shushing skeins
of common stars.