Old Pages

By Peter Halstead

Indeed we run past ruins
Of eucalyptus, their bark peeled
Almost to papyrus, or to weeds,
Dunes rushing through our toes,
Fictions of the dark lagoons
Flushing out to sea, taking
With them shards of bark,
Fallen fronds and rosehips,
Noon flaking into dried-up ponds
And the cuneiform of lips,
The ache of distant song
Drawing all of it away from us
Like the hiss of sand that hints
We might be in the wrong,
Covered in misprints and blocked
From all today by the roar of sea,
The pull of hollow waves,
The ocean’s ghoulish fall,
An island where we can be
Any time we want swept up
In winds, in the rush of roots,
The sheer newness of it all,
Trails littered with the crush
Of longans, and with rain, when
The only reason ever to be here
At the foot of heaven
Beneath this canopy of sails
Is the lineup of the swells,
A world of ancient coasts
Littered with our children’s pails
And the battered penmanship of ghosts.

April 19th and 20th, 2023