Lost opportunities and wishes stumbling to be heard: The Wishbone – A Poem by Michael J. Malone #Orentober #Guestpost

Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove! Today it’s my absolute honour to hand over my blog to the amazing Michael J. Malone, who is not only a novelist but also a poet, and today he is sharing with us his poem The Wishbone. Enjoy!


We found the stick planted at the edge where surf kissed sand.
Standing thigh-high, femur thick – out of time and planed to porcelain
By a rogue’s gallery of elements; bark worn or torn from its length
By the ceaseless ebb and surge of wind, water and sand.

In a pause between waves you plucked it from its long wait
And flourished it above your head like it was a gift from a spendthrift god
While I watched the next lazy wave wash sand across its lost position
As if time had neglected to register its Canute-like moment.

How smooth you said, and dimpled a smile while your thumb
And forefinger stroked its silhouette as if it might leak
Precious oil to perfume your print until the day romance cured the world.
Then you searched the waterline, demanding the riddle’s answer.

It’s a message, you decided. A branch dreaming of forests, of stepping
Beyond itself to a land where trees walked and water whispered the secret of now.
Poets, I laughed, sometimes a stick is just a stick, I grinned
And noted paw and footprints slowly seeping to erasure, leading back to the car park.
Man and his wag-tail shadow playing erstwhile messenger.

But look, you said, and ran your fingers to the end where the stick split in two.
Like a diving rod, you suggested.
Or a stick?
Or a snake’s tongue. Yours thrusting out, pink and moist, and heart-thrilling
Or a stick – I grabbed for it.
Or a wishbone, you sang out high on a squeal while you twisted from my grip.

Then, a black furred blur, a scuff of blunt claw on wet sand, and the stick
Jutting out either side of a labrador’s grin.
A windmilling tail. Bright eyes and a yip. An owner’s whistle and the dog
Galloped off with its prize, paws kicking up tiny sandstorms.

Look, a metaphor, I said.
A dog, you pouted.
A black dog returning a white stick to a careless god.
A dog, you mouthed and huddled close, needing my arms and sheltering shoulders.
A messenger dog returning an unused wish, I said and drew you close, breathing appled hair.

You brooded over lost opportunities and wishes stumbling to be heard.
Mouth and breath warm and moist on the shell of my ear, you said.
Tell me, the dog was just a dog?


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