PEOPLE AT THE BEACH
The woman parks the car in a street beside the sand.
She gets out and, slowly, takes out and unfolds
the wheelchair. Afterwards, she lifts the boy,
sits him down and puts his legs straight.
She pushes a few stray locks of hair from her face,
and, aware of her skirt billowing about,
starts pushing the chair towards the sea.
She reaches the beach along some wooden planks,
but the planks stop several yards from the sea.
Nearby, the lifeguard stares at the sea.
The woman lifts the boy out: she grasps him
under his arms and, her back to the water,
walks dragging him while his feet
leave two sad tracks in the sand.
She has brought him to where the waves reach,
she has left him on the sand and gone back
to fetch the sunshade and the wheelchair.
The last few yards. There are always
these cursed, terrible last few yards.
They are the ones that will break your heart.
There is no love in the sand. Nor in the sun.
Nor in the wooden planks, nor in the eyes
of the lifeguard, nor in the sea. Love
is these last few yards. Their loneliness.
The candle, the sparks from the stove
and my sister in the cradle,
where she would die before dawn.
The winter night devours angels,
but that was home:my father and mother
came in with the cold sticking to their overcoats.
The doctor ordered her to be bathed in water with ice.
Once the tiny body had been shrouded,
they put me to bed.
While they were covering me up, I comforted them
saying: You’ve still got me.