A romance, between the Forest and the Sea,
where the Sea is a woman covered only in seakelp
that binds tight around her like an evening dress
and her skin is pockmarked with barnacles
her hair jellyfish fingers, sand in her mouth,
fish in the wet of her eyes, swimming melancholic,
The Forest is a younger lady with a mess of moss
crowning her bark-flesh, her voice sounds like
a morning chorus, sometimes a nightjar,
she is naked, completely, but adorned with leaves
and wildflowers, and little insects between
her fingers and her toes. The song of crickets.
They met in a no-good gay nightclub in Kemptown
and the Sea danced with the Forest
to Madonna, twirling around each other, laughing
up to the top where the smoking area was
without realising that neither could do it;
the Sea drowned out every spark
whilst the Forest must be careful not to burn away.
But still they stood looking out
the Sea pointing at the horizon,
“That’s me,” she said, referring to the waves.
The Forest could not see herself from here.
She was here once. Long ago. They cleared her away
to build a village, a town, a city
on top of her remains. They kissed.
The problem with a romance between these two
is that they are not so different in the end.
Once, the Sea washed over where Forests now live
and the Sea has, in turn, washed away Forests
carrying driftwood from here to there
as little postcards of lovers. And so they kissed
but it would not be long until they realised
that they were both existing in spite of each other
or because of each other,
or on top of, or below, each other,
And so they kissed but bark becomes salty and wet
and the sea becomes dry
and the nightclub is awash with all these things
the sound system spluttering into nothing.
They each returned back. The Forest had the longer journey
taking the bus out till the roads were dark
and she could climb out and merge back
deep into the landscape. The Sea, she sat
a while on a jetty, letting her feet become
liquid then solid again, and in her hand holding
one small insect from her lover, now drowned.
The next morning, two hikers entered the Forest
and found that it was all terribly askew,
the birds all singing one another’s songs
and oak leaves sitting on elm branches.
“I have a horrible hangover,” she said to them.
“Out last night?” one of them asked.
“I met a girl. She made me all strange.
I can’t stop thinking about her.”
They laughed. “We know how it is.”
But the following week she left her place
and grew her way down to the city again,
wearing wild red roses on her tongue,
and the Sea climbed up from below
with pearls amongst herself
and they each reached out,
daring to hope that the other might come,
and maybe a wood could sink and be buried
beneath the waves somehow, or that
an ocean might exist in between
the pines and the undergrowth
or, or, somehow, somehow
soon, soon. Or perhaps.
Maybe. Yes. They said,
Let the landscapes change for us.