O'Connor Beach

Did you keep your eyes fixed ahead,
on that early morning horizon,
that pale slate
awaiting the sun?

Or did you turn your head,
as your legs kept you
on the back of your old friend,
him slowly, dutifully
trudging further and further?

Did you crane your head
to look back at that coastline,
at that sandy old familiar?
At the jetty that I
sit on now,
ruinous and ocean stained,
then only freshly
chopped wood?

Did you look beyond that stretch
of long paced upon sand,
your only confidante,
and back to the small town beyond,
town of your anguish,
of your late night despair,
the last seat of your life’s work,
your life’s ruin?

The town that drove you out here
to its furthest edge,
to jetty, to sea,
to this pale horizon?

When you paused
that morning
did you look out
and think of hollow piping
twisting through the heat?

The pipeline you thought would go nowhere

Is that where you thought you were going
that morning?

You died in water,
when it was water that
might have saved you

I swim to your statue
and stare up at you,
your head fixed on the horizon,
left hand reaching into pocket,
body ready to slip

and I think you must have,

must have given one last glance
at the town you toiled for
that didn’t toil back,
that drove you into the ocean
and into people’s hearts.

Alexis Lateef (Western Australia)

About C Y O'Connor

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