J.L. Nash

Rookie ((1969 -) / England)

The Sign


It was the sign
a post with a small board attached
that said nothing
up until then
I had seen ephemeral shells
a ray swim beneath me
a horizontal coconut tree
but it was the sign
that spoke to me
saying nothing

just lying there on the beach
beside discarded or lost
single sandals
empty bottles
broken coral we tried
to make it stand
built a base for it
a sign on a tiny island
saying nothing

but that was always
why I disliked her
because she would stand there
erect in posture
not unlike the little post
we left in the sand
on that tiny island
wooden and silent
no message to convey
saying nothing

The small island’s
sign to nowhere
not directing anyone to
anywhere with its
blank face its
ambiguity of note
was more beautiful
on looking back as I
paddled away than any
lover’s sleeping breath


was her silence
her emptiness of
conversation the
thing that made her
seem so beautiful
was the ownership of
my fantasy messages
unwritten on that
small board the same
to those who loved her

had I misunderstood her
silence her awkward
wooden poise Had others
found in her what I had seen
in my little sign post
my small sign
on that tiny island
leading nowhere
out of place
saying nothing

Submitted: Saturday, May 19, 2007
Edited: Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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