One that got away

Patagonia

by Kate Clanchy

I said perhaps Patagonia, and pictured

a peninsula, wide enough

for a couple of ladderback chairs

to wobble on at high tide. I thought

 

of us in breathless cold, facing

a horizon round as a coin, looped

in a cat’s cradle strung by gulls

from sea to sun. I planned to wait

 

till the waves had bored themselves

to sleep, till the last clinging barnacles,

growing worried in the hush, had

paddled off in tiny coracles, till

 

those restless birds, your actor’s hands,

had dropped slack into your lap,

until you’d turned, at last, to me.

When I spoke of Patagonia, I meant

 

skies all empty aching blue, I meant

years.  I meant all of them with you.

 

Penguin’s Poems for Love, 2009, selected by Linda Barber.