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The silver leather-back sea washes up to meet me.

I knew she was close;

The breezing air about my ears had told me so

As I climbed the sand hump-back

To see her,

And stumbled to her foaming hem.

 

The cawing and whooping of my children

as they rush to meet her, and skip at her edges:

Firecracker Girl and Loping-Limb Boy.

 

He turns away from her

to throw his hoodie

Up into the air,

Randomly; repeatedly;

Watching the wind take it

To then gazelle forwards and upwards

To catch it or not;

Then fall to the floor

And beetle-scrabble

In the sand around and about him.

And plant his face into it

And stop still

And motionless, for a moment.

 

A study in the physical fluid

Of rushing air.

And the incomprehensible sensation

Of being 13.

 

The light from her glinting skin:

The silver foil of her, un-scrunched

And smoothed flat before me

Turns my head back to her.

The light rises up

To wrap around my face

Pull at my cheeks

And draw a smile

From deep beneath

the place where I normally dwell.

 

I can’t quite define

What she does to me;

But she can do it blindly,

even when out of sight of me.

 

My lungs and heart fold into each other,

like twisting dough in a Baker’s hands.

 

I am distracted by Loping-Limb boy

And his sand churning

Till she reminds me she’s there.

 

She laps at me.

Her eyes sparkle everywhere.

Sharp spikes of light fire in every direction.

The sun does her bidding and sinks to her edges

As I wade into her shallows.

 

A whoop and a screech;

and Firecracker Girl erupts into my sight line

legs pumping, arms flailing;

splinters of salt-water glass

smashing up around firework eyes wide open;

sun silhouetted and all fierce trajectory

into the silver leather-backed water.

 

The sheer velocity of being 10 and alive

Launching into the spray,

The day one endless

Expanse of salt-stained forever.

 

I fall forwards and low

Into her shallow rolls

As she rises to meet me.

 

Then all is grey blue swirl

Arm reaches over arm

Body twisting and turning

And salt-sting eyes.

Then up,

Puffing and whooping,

To stand on the Bantham sandbank

And open my arms to everything.

 

Year after year drips off my skin

In rivulets running,

Falling away:

54, 47, 32, 25, 18, 9, 5, 2…

And suddenly they’re gone;

Sucked into her froth.

 

And I’m ageless and timeless

And fizzing with it all.

 

Fuck, I love this place;

Where time and age break their fetters

And skip off

Like children

To play elsewhere;

For a moment at least.

 

One deep breath.

And I turn away from her,

Until next time:

 

Ice cream calls.

 

 

Bantham Beach. 18th, August 2017.

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