We should have been together

We should have been together, here,
where the water is not natural,
where there is a dark pool on the beach.
A tank of black water which absorbs light,
even in the onslaught of white crests,
which break the pebbles into crisp shards.

An older woman in a mauve vest stares into the bottom,
loses her direction.
The streets become crown-lines in a head of curls,
crawling with lice.
Gigantic crabs emerge from the pool,
snapping at foreign voices on the promenade.
A hundred tourists are beheaded in an instant,
lolling tongues dribble English on the pavement.

The shadow tank absorbs everything;
remorse, sorrow, sadness,
there is nothing it won’t eat.

I throw a rock shaped like a raindrop into the still crescent,
not a splash, no noise or ridged circles on the surface.

A lone crab, larger than the rest,
shifts from his seat underneath the balustrade.
staring at me, he plucks the rock up from the bottom and eats it,
crushing the shape
a million caresses
took a hundred thousand years to make.
With a blank, hooded look he moves back, immobile again,
like nothing in the world had ever, ever moved.

The streets resume their grid; straight and lined,
and pedestrianized.
Everything is light, everything is neon now.
The pool reflects some of the street lamps.

The older woman breaks from her trance, and wanders on.

By Mattias Thomas

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