I left a school shoe on the swimming bus once
and it drove Ma crazy, as if one shoe
we’re somehow more offensive than none at all.
I was a forgetful kid – it runs in the family –
would walk around buried in a book
or swimming up and down a pool talking to myself,
watching the ghosts wander with me,
whisper to them as I breathed.
Eventually I grew out of it; the school shoes,
lunch boxes, tracksuit pants, homework diaries,
the shadows and water and childhood treasures:
abandoned on the bus for another dream.
But dreams have such an odd way
of winding back on themselves, returning strangely
to what they were before and now,
still a small boy wandering awake through the night,
stars in his eyes and a strange track
woven in the beach sand behind him,
made by some fool with only one shoe,
hobbling in the moonlight, the other foot
careless, lost in the ocean.