At four months, we walked an hour through March
Across the jetty as the wind drew across us.
Each stone unlike the next, each step shorter
Or longer—so that the walk seemed like a journey,
Though the point of our futures was fixed.
Looking down between the rocks, we had to stop
Looking ahead, saw the calm spaces hidden there
Where the birds would reach for fish and crabs
Before leaving their shells to dry in the light
On the next rough, uneven surface. Jetty of death,
The reaper says, setting his case to air in the sun.
But there was none: life was brimming and wet,
And the wind filled my eyes with water
As I looked sweetly back to see where you were,
How far or near your careful steps had carried you.
We didn’t hurry to get there. Each day was easy
Under our feet; each step more and more sure
Until four years had passed beneath our feet
And there we stood on solid ground again
More than a little shaken from all that care.
The land opened and I felt free, our bodies able
To step side by side after so much walking
Through which only one of us could follow.
And the light was good and the wind had thinned
As we climbed the first dune, looking down.
This is the long road down into winter, this
The gleaming spring already behind you. We sat
And heard the water all around us and talked there
For a moment as the gulls came to learn our game.
On a beach, alone, nobody for miles,
We sat and talked and perhaps looked lonely
To a bird high up in the air, having passed us by.
We knew what it was for, this moment,
Saw the condoms swollen in the sand, the plastic debris
Fading and brittle in the wind and winter sun.
But the light was good and the wind had burned us
And whatever rituals we were meant to arrive through
Seemed foreign and sad and hardly ours. We are not
The men you want us to be. We like our peace
But savor it differently. We arrive and sit and talk a while.
And loved our lovely bodies, distinctly, before crossing back.
*Written as a dare to rewrite the event of the previous poem more accessibly.