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
dungarees
 
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 2020
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