As a child I watched
the peel and splinter of slate
as you picked in the cliff face
for fossils.

Something beautiful about the coils
that you dislodged, their corrugations
clenched across millennia,
stranded in a sea-bed turned to rock
that reared above the crust we stood on.

Something fantastical, even then,
about the sense you made of time,
the gaps it spanned
and their inversion
of the solid and the liquid things.

And something precious in that shore
whose gold grain ran a thread
between the old sea and the new,
the stone sea and the wind-ruffed
restless charge of water-onto-land.

You lent me your hammer to play with:
its weight in my hand, the swing of it
too large; its bounce and skew discarded,
abandoned on a rock.

Back at the car your anger rushed like water,
gathered the horizon to itself and took me,
rolled me over, spun the world –
left me battered, breathless, still as stone.

And I remember how you ran,
with no thought but the hammer,
back across the beach to beat the tide,
your footsteps flailing in the sand.