Toby

His voice from across the tavern table,
drew sounds upward from
a windworn notebook,
low, sure, and gravelled on every few consonants.
It pulled in a page
of etched words, dark ink, about an ocean
and long days of quiet at sea.
When he finished, his worked and bitten fingers
folded the pages back over like folding his nets
and straightening lines and hooks for all those months.

Before they could be caught, her words broke
through a surface –I love to listen to you
read
–This surprised her more
than him and she could see the words
dangle and wriggle there before
they were caught up in his slow smile.

He began again, to let the words out
into the calm space and they slipped beneath
the surface. The story goes onward
about the time it takes to work and bend
and fight and crave comfort and have
hunger upon a swelling expanse
of sea. All the time never knowing
if the wait will be worth the will.

****

From the archives. An evening five years ago. And its poem.


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