Leave Only Footprints

The sign at the bottom of the dune
said, “Please, leave only footprints
on the beach.”

I wish I could have done that,
but our soles hit the sand
and you stalked towards the grey roil
of the surf, towards the storm
churning up off the water,
and you didn’t wait for me.

You stood down below the algae line,
up to your ankles in the cold froth,
and I didn’t want to talk to you.
Not even the seagulls wanted to talk to you,
not even the seashells or the sea,
and as I stood by the sign
imploring me to leave only footprints,
I realized you’d left me months ago
and the only choice I had
was to leave you on that beach
and wait for the tide to wash you away.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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