Reading Waves


Looking out

over dark waters,

you told me

you could read the waves.

They came

rolling in

from off in a black distance

to crash in to the rocks

below our feet.


I stood there,

silent as a mortuary,

listening to the sea birds

calling out to each other

through the darkness.

I understood

their urgent cries,

for on a night like this,

to be separated from their flock

meant certain death.


I put my hand around your waist,

pulling you closer.

I heard your breath

let out

in a long, unburdening sigh.

Your head,

long hair kept back

by your red knit cap,

rested on my shoulder.


I took a sip

from the coffee in my hand,

spiked with bourbon

from the flask in my pocket,

the one you had given me

for Christmas last year,

back when things were easy.


I looked up,

the clouds roiling and churning,

threatening rain,

that would turn to snow.

I held you closer,

this time you gasped,

as my hand put pressure

on the scar,

still fresh

from where the doctors

has removed the carcinoma.


My chest got tight

and my eyes stung.

Another sip of coffee

washed down the hard lump

that was growing in my throat.

A huge wave crashed below us

and even as high up as we were,

I could feel the salt spray

on my face.


The clouds marched

ever closer,

and you,

now held me

tighter than before,

as if the story

the waves told you

was the same

as he story they told me.


Hard times coming.

A cold winter.





It didn’t matter,

not in that moment.

We held on

for another few minutes,


except for our breathing,

and the seabirds,

and the wind,

and the crash of the waves.


“I can read the waves.”

You said again,

just before we turned

to walk back to the car.

“I know.” I replied.

“So can I.”



HG – 2021

Leave a Reply