fine sandy dunes in dry desert

The Handful of Sand: Survivor’s Song

I took a handful of sand
Made a clamshell shape
Pressed it between my hands.
But it crumbled and ran
Through my fingertips
Escaping from me
Refusing to be bottled
Like an impossible
Model of a ship. 

I sprinkled what was 
Left with water to slow 
The disintegration down
But it turned into a muddy mess
And returned down to the ground.
I threw it on the fire
But it became glass and
Not the sand I'd found.
I just wanted to look 
Through it once in a while - 
Record those memories
Which my brain forgot to file,
But heat and flame transform,
And I was not ready 
For that trial.

And when I looked
Only a few grains remained
So I wrapped them in tissue
Paper and used them to
Sharp a blade 
To cut the memories 
Away from the meat,
The walking away from the feet,
The everything away 
From the inevitable pain:
The longing away from 
The shame. 

I went back to the beach
But the beach had all been
Harvested, 
And all that stood
There was the rock of ages
Remaining grey against 
The sky.
The sea shaped the future
Of the eternal stone
And the sand was all gone
And I realized I had grown. 

Nothing lasts forever
Not even love
Or family
Thought trains
Or memory.
Nothing lasts for ever
Not even handfuls of sand
Time keepers
Momento mori
Or desperate weeping. 
Nothing lasts for ever
Not even me
Or you
Or the plump hands
Of children walking 
Along the street to 
Toshimaen
With popcorn smiles
And icecream faces,
Nor the giant spiderman
Climbing up the cinema
Building forever bad-guy
Chasing. 
Nothing lasts forever
But it all demanded everything 
From me
And now I am worn away
Like a handful of sand
Thrown into the
Sea.

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