I had a friend who was a longshoreman

I wonder just how long
the man’s friend by the shore was
and when I feel comfortable
to stop hiding behind jokes
I smell salt in the air
and feel my beard growing where it needs to.
There’s sand in the cuts on my fingers
and my arms feel big enough to carry cargo
or slap the back of a man who needs it.

© Carl Burkitt 2023

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