A Travelling Age
by Toby MacNutt
Beloved, I am old today.
The hollows of my bones are packed full
of fine sand, bright mica-flecked
but muddied by marrow, clotting the hours
into years. I can hear the creak of
my fossilising shell. Read to me, please -
my eyes water so, my hands shake.
The words have gone from me,
as if I were young again. Little one,
so light and quick, catch them
and I will hold them warm in my aching hands,
I will store their letters in the little bronze box
with the small white stones and the chestnuts.
We both scavenged the forgotten places once,
alone: children of the edgelands.
I will be young again tomorrow,
maybe. I will pack these years away
in a travelling case, for later: as feathers,
as potsherds, an ammonite, a verdigris'd coin.
(Yours are pressed between the pages
of a botanical handbook, slowly fading.)
I will not mind if we stop to rest;
you had a head start, all those strides ago.
Take my hand, beloved, guide me.
We have treasures yet to find.