I woke. You were lying beside me in the double bed,
prone, your long dark hair fanned out over the downy pillow.
I’d been dreaming we stood on a beach an ocean away
watching the waves purl into their troughs and tumble over.
Knit one, purl two, you said. Something in your voice made me think
of women knitting by the guillotine. Your eyes met mine.
The fetch of a wave is the distance it travels, you said,
from where it is born at sea to where it founders to shore.
I must go back to where it all began. You waded in
thigh-deep, waist-deep, breast-deep, head-deep, until you disappeared.
I lay there and thought how glad I was to find you again.
You stirred in the bed and moaned something. I heard a footfall
on the landing, the rasp of a man’s cough. He put his head
around the door. He had my face. I woke. You were not there.
Ciarán Carson (born 1948) Northern Ireland
Source: Poetry Foundation