For Anne

There are no footprints in the sand –

the cormorants kill close to the shore

confident and undisturbed.

We watch from the garden gate, unsure


when the beach will be ours again to share,

and if this glimpsed peace is a promise or

insentient indifference –

though either way, will such calm restore


a long-lost balance, prompting a new

acknowledgement less can be more,

or the moment we can, will we instead

unleash the past, let engines roar


into the skies and down the roads

now every day a Yom Kippur

as we each shrug off whatever it is

we seem invited to explore


while there’s no way to hold or kiss

all those who touch us to the core,

or to seek forgiveness, face-to-face,

from those we’ve hurt; or to ignore


this sense what matters most is some

maybe mere wish-fulfilment law:

that we live with love, or else we die,

whatever our frail lives might be for?

Published in Snakeskin 272, May 2020