Audience of One

prison of sticks

          I am building a prison of sticks on the sand,
seven staves of reed and wood-drift
                    sunk at intervals wide as a child's hand

reaching to span the circumference of a fist,
                    seeking the closed solace of its confines.
          All it holds is the broken homes of shells,

          the elaborate guise and defense of bodies
too soft, or with claws too ragged, who crawl
                    ashore in pieces with the winter tide

which gently rocks and grinds us back to sand.
          	Love is a snug trap which the heart seals
	and the mind keeps without words for keys.

          Still, I pluck up the snarled quill
to scribe words onto the shore's bleak tablet
                    that I should not forget or be forgotten-

yet, while the empty rigging chimes the masts,
                    the cold tide rises to undo even these
          and a new page rolls up waiting for the entries

          of bird tracks and the scribbling of children,
the secret messages of life,
                    the encrypted codes which the sea sends.

Kevin Cornwall © All rights reserved.

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