Once fawned after and reciprocated smiles,
fingers braided like knots–strong and dependable.
Time wears the rope thin and
frays the end to tangles.
running once warm fingers over cold bars,
only the rope in hand and
no longer a place to anchor the ship on sandy shores.
I’m wading in waves
that draw me in and out
as the tide pleases,
covered in barnacles,
salt-baked skin and
pruned fingers from staying too long.
My senses numb to the lapping waves
and the rocking ocean.
What good is an old map with tattered edges and faded letters
tucked in the corner of the hull,
when the ship is cast along by the gales and tides?
Gliding through waters and letting them in
through invisible cracks beneath the surface,
charting new territory while sea levels rise in its belly
dragging it down inch by inch to the forgotten darkness below
“To the things that Mean Nothing to everyone else, but Mean Everything to Us”
You may just be buffalo plaid
but you have stitched parts of our story
and are still captured in photos long after you’ve gone
to the Salvation Army or that dumpster behind the apartment.
You may just be a few keystrokes on the piano
signifying rough waters and a sharp fin,
but you gave us some laughs as ironic as that sounds.
You may have just been a flower picked from the end of a driveway,
just one in hundreds and not missed or noticed by the owner,
but you shared a smile in just the right place at just the right time.
You may have others that live with you now,
but our photos and those that were never taken
are still in your walls.
You may be littered with old coffee cups
or cigarette butts in someone else’s driveway now
or crushed into metal pulp,
but you took us to dinners and beaches and movie theaters.
All of these things are stitched across hands
Matt McGuirk teaches and lives with his family in New Hampshire. BOTN 2021 nominee with words in various lit mags and a debut collection with Alien Buddha Press called Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities available on Amazon and linked on his website.