On Maldon’s shore

Walking in the shallows as the tide went out

the split-moment before the fall

and before balance regained me

I thought I saw my reflection in a wave.

 

Over-silted sand-filled wannabee footsteps

shrouding the reeds in clouds of seaweed dust

of mooring chain rust, bobbing buoys

and clove-hitched up bleach blue bottles

thrust out past waist deep

as I stumbled passively in the shin-depths.

 

Arrowheads and shucked clam shells

merge as the sun dries my dear departed footfalls

scented with the dung of a thousand mouldy skate bones

in a land only known for its bass,

the boats turn to salute their retiring mistress

and expose the fickle riders

who didn’t check high-tide’s time before

beginning their drifting bouncing rodeo.

 

Sunburnt and sunwarmed, silently

patiently content,

I drag the dinghy back down

to its approaching mooring.

 

I find the chain only once I’ve removed my flip-flops,

and those clouds fall clear, the sky near,

to my naked feet

in this unclothed estuary.

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