Sea Horse
It was on the first day of our seaside holiday
that I found him
washed up,
spat out by the sea
and swimming alone in the rock pool.
I had never seen a sea horse before,
only pictures in a book.
I used my shoe to fish him out
and ran back quickly,
one shoe on and one shoe off,
before the water leaked out.
I put him in the sink
and watched him swim.
He didn’t seem quite right.
Or maybe it was the pictures that were wrong,
or my memory.
He couldn’t stay in the sink.
My mother made that quite clear.
So I found him a jar in the cobwebby shed
and put him in that.
I fed him on bits
of bread,
minced meat
and mashed banana.
He spat them all out angrily.
I thought he would die from lack of food
and my mother said he couldn’t come home with us.
So I took him back to the waters edge
and released him,
gave him back
to the sea.
The next day I found him lying on the pebbles.
The sea had rejected him,
spat him out,
just as he had spat out my food offerings.
I carried him back,
in my shoe again
and put him
in the jar.
I’m older now and when I look at him,
I’m wise enough to know
that he is no seahorse,
but not wise enough
to know his name.
Only that the sea rejected him,
spat him out,
as he had rejected me.

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-- It was on the first day of our seaside holiday that I found him... First published in Visual Verse, June 2017


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