By Jelle Cauwenberghs
I miss it.
Sea foam at dawn.
Cuttlebone, chipped china,
Cowrie — the inside of an ear.
The hemp baskets heave
With grey shrimp. The horses rise
From the gentle morning
Tide. The beach like a sickle —
Rinsed clean of wet embers.
Far away, the pyramids shimmer.
I miss it.
The mist at dawn,
The polished glass of the sea.
After a night of weeping
In the bed of a stranger,
Waiting for the early ferry
To Athens. I am drunk.
I listen to the palm leaves against
The wiry mosquito screen.
My mouth is a dead hive, a scroll
Of dry saliva.
Five am is alpine, a little owl,
The grey nipple of a mule
Against a starlit rock. I stumble
Across parched vineyards.
I feel it, again; the consolation
Of seeing the golden, resinous light
Glide over the barren island.
It washes over me.
There is no plough. No pain.
Only my departure, the echo and oracle
Of my nocturnal body. I cannot explain
Why, but I went.
I left, I think, forever.
It is guesswork. Most things are
When you are born like me — adrift.
Will they remember me, as I do?
My lean torso, my unbending oar?
I wish I could dance with them again,
Those men who kissed like brothers —
Those long-dead kings.
Jelle Cauwenberghs was born in Belgium, grew up in France and has lived in Iceland and Greece. He currently lives in Glasgow. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in various journals and independent magazines. He is a regular contributor to Caught by the River and his poetry is forthcoming in The View from Now, a collection that includes over twenty emerging and established writers in Scotland. He is working on his first collection, The House of Last Refuge. He loves the sea, and the land between.