Let us Look


On my first drive alone, I go to see you. I know it’s bad luck but steal

three stones from your daughter’s yard, lined up on passenger’s seat.


                                                                         Drive to a closed boat club. Pull up at emergency

                                                                         assembly point, skulk out over dock, rest on icy   

                                                                         concrete. Wind hisses as I palm each stone.


Throw the first for my aunty, your baby girl.

Then the heaviest for my uncle, your firstborn.

Toss the smoothest last for your troublemaker.


Try to skim them but bay’s too choppy, each devoured with a graceless kerplunk.

Dead palms hunch over shore—I see ribs of skeletons. Which one held your heart?


                                                                   A sign nearby insists Let Us Look After You

                                                                   above emergency radio frequencies and distress

                                                                   signals near a dock locked up for rescue vessels.

                                                                   I long to jump the barbed wire to go find you.


There’s even an electronic screen with bar tides, weather forecasts and storm warnings.

I wonder what cautions you were given. Who tried to talk you out of it? Did you care?


The wind leapfrogs over a slouched

palm tree, how it must’ve doubled over

in late November forty years ago. How

many ribs decayed across this shore?


I notice a man bent on the dock opposite, tugs nets free from rocks, searches

without luck. I watch and wish I could reach up, pluck and skim the moon to you.


                                                                  I wish I knew this wasn’t the right launch point.

                                                                  Dad had it wrong. Mum has long since forgotten.

                                                                  I wonder if you could catch anything from that far.

Sean West holds a BFA in Creative and Professional Writing. In 2019, he was shortlisted for the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in StylusLit, Stilts Journal, and Baby Teeth Journal, among others. Find more of him at www.callmemariah.com.

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