maria barnas
poetry

TO AND FRO
MAASVLAKTE 04

THE EASE AT WHICH THIS SEA BECOMES A MEMORY
FRIGHTENS ME. OR MAYBE IT RATHER IMPRESSES ME
TOO MUCH. IT IS TOO MUCH, REALLY.

TOO MUCH WATER, TOO WIDE A STRETCH
OF THOUGHTS AND SUDDEN IMAGES
COMPLETING EACH OTHER AND ME.
STANDING THERE AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT.

WHAT WAS I THINKING? A SEA IS RUNNING
THROUGH MY MIND, THESE CRASHING WAVES
THAT ARE RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

I KNOW THE WATER WILL RUN THROUGH MY FINGERS
BUT IT LOOKS LIKE STEEL AND DEATH
RUNS TOO EASILY ACROSS ITS SURFACE, ONE BREATH, TWO
BREATHS

THREE TINY BOATS APPEAR OVERFLOWING
WITH BLACK ARMS AND LEGS AND BRIGHTLY
COLOURED BUNDLES OF AN ANCIENT EXISTENCE.

I HOPE THE PEOPLE THESE LIMBS BELONG TO
FIND WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR.
FEAR COMES TO MIND AND STAYS
IF I CHOOSE TO KEEP THIS WORD
I DO NOT PLACE HERE AS A METAPHOR.

METAPHORS ARE TREACHEROUS PLACES.
NARROW BEACHES WHERE THE TIDE COMES IN.

HERE.

MY FATHER AND BROTHERS MAKE A CAR APPEAR
IN THE SAND. THEY USE LONG STICKS TO DAMAGE
THE FLAWLESS BEACH, SCRATCHING AND ETCHING.
THEY LAUGH AND THRASH AND BELLOW.

‘THE SEA WILL WAS HIT ALL AWAY’ SAYS MY FATHER
WHEN I ASK WHAT THEY ARE DOING
AS IF THAT MAKES UP FOR ANYTHING.

WE LAUGH WHEN THE CAR SINKS IN THE SAND
AND WE LAUGH AS WE OFFER OUR FEET, OUR ANKLES
OUR KNEES TO THE SEA.
WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP.