The Tidemark

The Tidemark

When we were children

We would walk the tidemark

And talk of floating the wide grey water

To the places we had seen in Ladybird books

And in dreams.


(All the while shivering; never going deeper than our knees)


We would see all the ocean’s monsters in a stranded jellyfish;

The history of tall ships and piracy

In a tangle of fishing nets and floats.


And once,

Once we found a strange thing

A mannequin, perhaps, or a toy

A tiny, pathetic bedgraggled mess

That mummy would not let us come near.


You whispered “it looks like a little boy.”

But it could not be,

I knew it could not be,

Because who would let that happen to a child?


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