Robert Ford – Poem – 6

by Robert Ford

Sensing the certainty of a chapter ending, 
I take a final, slow walk through your city, 

hoping to harvest memories, or steal keepsakes,
from between the cold fingers of its streets,

and drift down towards the harbour, its broken
knee-cap perched on the flexed limb of the shore. 

But my recollections can only gather sullenly
like leaf-piles on death row, waiting for a storm

to scatter them. All the old ghosts I thought 
I’d come to know have either swapped faces 

with one another or gone off to haunt elsewhere. 
Paint deserts the door frames as I stumble on, 

chewed up by the salted wind screeching in 
over the water. Seabirds become stones. 

Even my own footprints across the wet sand 
vanish when I turn and try to catch them.

It’s no game. They keep on reappearing later,
tiptoeing in the dark when my eyelids finally close.


Robert Ford’s poetry has appeared in print and online publications in the UK, US and elsewhere, including Under the Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Dime Show Review and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at