Until I met you
a day at the beach
meant Foxton in fine weather
Tip-Top boysenberry ice cream
and a dance of skittish sand.
Not so, for you.
You preferred a blustery buffet
along Herbertville rocks
arms spread wide
as you leaned into the easterly
that roared off the sea.

“It lifts me,” you said,
“like a kite,” and the wind
whipped your words to me
like the tendrils of hair
against your face.

And while the gulls screeched
the names of the dead
and wheeled like banshees above,
I would kiss the salt from your lips
and reel you back to earth
grateful to be your anchor.

Later, lighter
dessicated by cancer and chemo
you would still demand
wind, water, gulls:
scarf ends dancing in place of hair,
that feeling of flight;

and how I clung then, how I clung
watching your string fray,
even as I held it,
knowing how soon it would break.

This morning we went to the sea
your parents and I.
They gave your dust, with flowers,
gently, to the waves.
I, less forgiving,
hurled your name to the gulls.
Let them scream it, endlessly, into the sky.
Stringless, unfettered
let it fly.