by frithar

Dockyard Boy and the Gypsy Child

His boots keep time to his whistle. The skritch
of leather-on-stone cuts through a fast-fading

fog that shrouds her as she twirls, fey-footed,
skirts flaring to his tune.  He picks at a snared

cable stitch on the sweater his gran knitted him
to block the ribbons of cold air in this March

wind. He will not step near her tinker's grove,
warned away by his foreman, friends, and family

but she follows him again this morning, wisp-thin,
willow-limbed child. Her people will be shifting

inland, away from this lapping of waves—this song
of a thousand thirsty wolfhounds desperate to drink

the sea. The shipyard boss sees him now, points him
toward those who scrape the boats: jabbing, filing

at barnacles demanding passage to larger worlds.
Further up the strand, she dips her hands to pull

seaweed to dry for journey-meals, shakes the salt
free, baskets them. She spits into water, swirls it

with a stick, watching him. From this distance, he won't
hear she has trapped his tune, takes it away with her.



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