A golden cliff above grey water–
how Cape D’Or got its name.

Among driftwood stumps and branches washed
from God knows where, oil cans, buckets, ropes,

lobster claws, seaweeds, the carcass of a seal,
I found a new walking stick.  The old one

was buried with the old dog,
a week before our son left for Colorado.

We two have since learned to travel together,
learned the rhythms of silence and talk,

when to make love, when to sleep alone.
Walking the shore before the rising tide,

shaking stones from our sandals, we met
an old woman in a blue hat.

She laughed and pointed out to sea.
“Watch out,” she said, “for every third wave.”

And she was right:  the next one nearly
knocked me off my feet.  I sat

beside you in that recovery room,
waiting for good news,

wanting one thing–for our walk to go on.
I remembered that old woman

waving over our heads to an old
man coming along behind us with a dog,

and you and I kept walking,
double prints along the hard wet sand.

Written at Reid’s Tourist House, Nova Scotia
August 5, 1999, revised 2011



  1. I love this one, Mary. I seem to recall I saw you read this at Deerleap many moons ago!

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