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The Mouth of the Spanish Arch

Keshia Sophia Roelofs

The water laps the edge of stone, 

centuries-old but sturdy still, 

holding the steady flow of feet holding their own.

A reflection of the river itself. 

Time moves slow as people move in, 

then faster as they join the current. 

A mass of torrential bodies begin

to move steadily in this direction and that. 

But inevitably the water must calm

once a destination has been found.

One by one bodies lie down where they can

And, like water dragging pebbles, 

voices chat numerously. 

Gulls fly overhead in tranquillity,

unnoticeable to the unobservant crowd. 

The hiss of cans opening, a common ability,

and the clank of bottles shared between friends. 

Suddenly the sound, like a rocked boat,

can be heard from rhythm-paced hands, 

on a sheep-skinned drum, and floats 

along the ebbing flow of intertwining conversation. 

Sunshine reaches down, glistening the shoulders, 

of innumerable shades of skin, like water,

whose tones vary as the heat smoulders. 

beckoning to depths as yet undiscovered. 


We are late as we walk under the stone-arch 

and, briefly, cold shade chills us. 

No one lies here in this sunless empty sparse. 

This dark boulder that blocks the marine's movement. 

We land at last, mass bodies vast. 

My eyes close as I listen to the mummer

of the water below, the chatter on the grass

and the endless fighting flight of gulls. 

The birds eyeing our streams, 

of unguarded fish, nothing more than fallen chips,

and one by one, like rockets, no sign of teams,

tear their easy prizes asunder. 

A fight for survival. 

But no not here. 

We are one of the same part, 

a marine mirror, 

a steady tide of old and young, 

a river joining a river at the mouth of the Spanish Arch.