hello goodbye

hello goodbye
I saw her from the window
of my signal-stalled train
stranded beside the bay
she wore
a soft green hat
a bright red scarf
and threw a stick
for a dog to fetch
from the waves
again and again
and while the dog swam
she danced
a bobbing half-dance
picking up pebbles
she put in a satchel
hung round her neck
I opened the window
I waved
I shouted hello
she waved a half-wave
and nodded
the carriage jolted
the train moved on
as I waved goodbye
the penny dropped
I pulled the cord
and jumped to the track
clambering seaweed groynes
my sandals snapped
razor sea-shells
tore my feet
but for black-headed gulls
the dog and a sandy stick
the beach was deserted
the dog
pawed the stick 
stepped away
stepped back 
pawed the stick
looked at me –
at the stick
back to me
I flung the stick
far into the swell
‘go fetch boy fetch’
the dog plunged in
swam out
swam back
a bright red scarf
between his teeth.

© coolhermit 2023
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