year after year I have stood here
hip-deep in churning water
shoulders hunched against the wind
shivering, scrutinizing, flinching from the ocean’s cold fist
too fearful of submersion
to join in

my eyes are trained on you, and you alone
out there in Neptune’s fairground
where the sun makes mischief casting stars onto briny day
board poised to mount the next foaming wave
your body is a mirage of mercury
and saltwater

hungry for the wild alchemy
of flightless bodies made winged
I watch you plunging back, further back
long-limbed and laughing
so liquid with rapture that you are almost one
with the moon-bridled tide

windmilling my arms for warmth
fleshy sand mouthing my bone-white feet
I take deep, brackish breaths
and wonder what strange creatures inhabit the heavy silence
beneath this bellowing throat
and not all of them benign

ride each wave, my boy
boldly, triumphantly
joyously to the shore…
the ocean is vast, glorious, terrifying, thrilling
brutal –
out there, far from the beach

when you rise up for air
I will be standing here
would that it could forever be so
the waves bearing you back, and back, and back to me
but the sea is calling
and she urgently awaits your reply