Tumby Bay Jetty
for my father 1923-1998
An older distance between the pylons
has shrunk to a small gait of planks
that jut this cold August
into a shallow and sullen ocean.
The car is parked deep in vagaries of memory
where seagulls walk upon smeared windscreens
and the last of winter wraps the bay
in shadow and latent morning storms.
The sand is hard packed and cold
and there are few shells between the stones
wind keeps its own erasure with the tide
and there is little to go looking for.
No amount of cajoling the past
with this kind of reminiscent return
can lengthen the jetty or bring it back
reflected in a child’s eyes.
How sea sat quietly still and blue
or roared and bumped against the wood
fishing against a string of afternoons
deep into waves beyond the green line.
Too late the day swings upon remembering
and regret - finally expresses itself in rain
and I stand and cast a long shadow
where you once played a trick
of trace and cockle for the silver trevally
jerking the line up quickly and in perfect coils
and how your deft hand kept it always
from falling into knots and tangles.
©Jeff Guess 2017