help for when the tide is out
by Matilda Houston-Brown | April 11, 2022
Sometimes I forget that I can walk for hours –
So unlike the long stupid steps, my crawl
Under a desk or up the stairs or through the
Door when drunk, a spilled coin of vodka
Inflating itself on the bedroom carpet, piles
Of laundry, crowded surfaces, weight of loose change –
And if I remember I forget exactly what
The hours quite meant, or where I caught
Or spent them. Each anecdote about the
Climb, a discussion about earning things –
The old sweat stains, or blisters born from
Places I don’t remember quite right.
Honesty is often wearing walking
Boots, I think – or know, perhaps, when
I am summited: my body small against the
Mountain and the sky, surrounded by damp
Smoking clouds and earth that bends to feet,
As if I am a single added stone.
Years ago, I walked the way to lindisfarne
When the tide was out. I remember how
The vast soft sand slipped off to the horizon,
wet and wide and endless in its quiet,
And I could hear with every step the wind
Creaking out at me, distant and wanting,
Attempting conversation as if it knew this
Was a pilgrims’ site – take off your shoes
And feel your footsteps slowly sink.
And for the last bit of the walk, I did. ∎
Words by Matilda Houston-Brown, art by Faye Song.