Waves love stone. Watch­ing, you feel like a voyeur: their re­la­tion so per­sonal, in­ti­mate, an­cient. It’s a metaphor for mar­riage, storm and calm, the chang­ing tides, wa­ter shap­ing stones, stone giv­ing wa­ter a place to fall, to pool, to rise to be­come cloud and fall again. An­cient. They can take each other for granted. Or even gran­ite. Here’s a story: out­side grey-stony-Strom­ness, if you walk the beach west past Churchill’s bunkers, west to­ward the ceme­tery, you might start to see how the stone of each small bay you walk is a dif­fer­ent colour of sun­set: amber um­ber smoke soot apri­cot plum soot peach storm. Then you glance up to see a wall, each stone placed and known by cal­lused hands and be­yond that the grave­stones, fam­i­lies’ grief and pride chan­nelled by the carver’s chisel. Above those, the hills are full of cairns, tombs, howes, words for stones ar­ranged around the bones of our dead, keep­ing holy the frag­ile stones once in­side our flesh. The end. Lis­ten to the waves. You’d never guess they’re slowly eat­ing stone. Wind does too but wa­ter is mas­ter here: stone, I will love you till I wear you away. We’ll be one then, I swear.

I might scour you to sand but will for­get you never.

I’ll break you. Un­der­mine you. But not will for­get.

I will never not touch you.

I love your ev­ery curve and edge,

I kiss you lick you roar and bite. How can you not be­lieve the tale of the lone stone up on the hill who one day each year can bear it no more but must walk down to the lake and drink? How could it not? See its face in the wa­ter, stern and de­voted. Amber um­ber smoke apri­cot plum soot peach storm. The end.

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