Personal Aside

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.

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