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Tumby Bay Jetty

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

©Jeff Guess 2017

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