Our fathers, who we have strewn like seaweed behind us
by Alison Powell
We buried our fathers to their necks at Llangennith Beach, at Swanage Bay, at Portreath. They are still there now in their thousands, their balding heads all facing out towards the sea, a hint of something like confusion in their arched eyebrow smiles. They loll and bob their chins against the razor shells, make half assed jokes about the crabs.
The castles that they built for us have long ago been washed away. And, in the manner of the waves, we have forgotten everything: the kites they flew into the sun, the way they held our arms and lifted us above the surf, the way they gently towel-rubbed our skin.
From our viewpoint in the dunes, we moan in unison, an outburst of lament that grieves across the sky. It is no use. For way too long we’ve held our fathers out of reach. Afraid of what might foam out from their mouths. Afraid of salty tongues, of scratchy cheeks.
We’ve lost the tools to raise them from their sandy graves.
And anyway, it’s too late now.
The tide is coming in.