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A Life of Souvenirs
I felt it die on a Skye shore
when the sea asked us what we came for
I started to answer, but realized, before I could say
that what I'd planned was so untrue
I couldn't even tell the waves
 
and all around us the sea air crackles with concealed regret
as Scotland listens to our shoes on the gravel, our uneven steps
children of the city seeking absolution for a life half spent
in a world of souvenirs
 
we flew to England in a daze
boarded a northbound train in London haze
rolling past steel plants, closed, I was humming to myself
but you didn't know the song and
I didn't bring the tape
 
and all around us children war along the narrow aisle
with commuters and tourists, like an exodus in metal single file
and as the highlands rise out of the lonely hills I can sense the miles
and I'd feel like this is working if you could only smile
but you won't stop making schedules
 
the roads to Skye all feel like veins
deigning to bring us, but eager to take us back again
the Kyle ferries circle like leviathans' slow dance
the road to Elgol weaves as if
to throw the car
 
and all around us the beaches rustle as if to greet our march
and no one sees us when we climb the wall around the half-fallen arch
in an abandoned castle we live like hoarders 'til the evening comes
and imagined crossbows stare out across our drawbridge at the setting sun
like guardians of the moment
 
I meant this trip to be a cord
around the cracks we'd both felt start to form
a week away and we would surely reconnect
but you turn expectantly to me and
I don't have a word
 
and all around us the sea air crackles with concealed regret
as Scotland listens to our shoes on the gravel, our uneven steps
and as the moment falters I feel it turn to just another page
in a life of souvenirs
 
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