Sand squeezes up between my toes and washes away
In the foam of a retreating wave.
Wet stones glisten in the sunlight asserting a rainbow of features.
On this beach, I am no stranger.
I’ve walked this shore grasping tiny fingers mile after mile.
Memories of small voices bring an awkward smile.
At the thought of the hand of my love, I draw my empty palm toward my face.
Had there been such a time and place?
The setting sun blazes a trail over the watery plain
Until twilight wanes and darkness reigns.
Farther along, orange light burns a hole in the black curtain.
I approach slowly, uncertain,
Children roast hotdogs and marshmallows on wooden shafts.
A young woman laughs
In a clear voice that announces she has lived a happy life.
An empty beach chair lingers at her side.
I wait at a distance, in awe of the joyful family.
It is familiar to me.
My heart is overcome with a sense of loneliness a loss.
The empty chair from the fireside taunts.
Might my laughter join theirs in praise for the gift of life?
I bow my head and pass by.
I walk until the gray twilight breaks the spell of the night deeper,
Silencing the chorus of spring peepers.
The sun climbs and shadows stretch as they flee its piercing gaze.
I turn my back on the rising blaze
At the site of the beach fire, blackened wood rests atop the stone hearth,
Now as cold as my own heart.
The voice of my love laughing I hear,
Unmistakable to my ears.
I watch as she bends down and picks up a stone,
Then holds it before a smile that glows.
I glance at the sand from whence we both had come; one set of tracks I see.
The truth drives me to my knees.
As a wraith, a shade with no place to call home,
Forever this Earth I will roam.
I turn to see just one more time before the vision is gone
The happy face,
The carefree spirit,
But, alas, my love has flown.
- A Man of Valor - August 20, 2018
- A Love Poem: The Wraith and the Carefree Woman - February 8, 2018
- Last Show, Alt Part 3 to John Hansen’s, “Like This Page” - November 13, 2016