This time I know
I will never see him again.
For a time he played the game,
like a child experimenting with blocks,
building towers and fortresses
but never bridges.
Bridges are hard.
Invariably his feet would slip,
before he found
the acceptance parents had denied
and other children refused him.
Acceptance he couldn't recognise
even when it came, like waves
gentling in his life.
Institutions, foster homes,
he knew them all.
Fourteen going on ninety.
Knowledge gleamed in his eyes.
Though he has since been
swept out of reach,
particles of sand cling and
memories are water-cold companions.
*first published Westerly Autumn 1995
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