John Tustin

The Atlantic Ocean

I didn’t love her –
there wasn’t time or space within either of us
for that –
but I felt something for her
that was a cousin to love
and we made very vague plans
for me to take her to see the ocean
because she’d never left the Midwest
and I’ve lived all my life just off the Atlantic.
All of life got in the way,
not to mention her husband
and then my girlfriend,
so she never got close to paying me a visit.
We never met face-to-face,
only talked on the phone or online
and then one day a friend of ours
took her on an excursion to see the Atlantic –
the trip she had promised to me.
They got to within a hundred miles of my house
but no closer,
two women of minor desperation
getting drunk on the beach
and speaking of lovelier topics than me.
That was probably five years ago
and since then we don’t talk anymore,
the reasons having nothing to do with her trip.
I never go to the beach
even though it’s a ten-minute drive from my place
but if I ever do
I’ll be sure to stand on the shore
as the tide is going out,
throwing a stone as far as I can,
aiming for the belly of the Atlantic Ocean –
dreaming that someday
she’ll come back to the East coast,
stand on a beach
and as she’s looking out at the setting sun
as it dips the end of its day into the horizon,
my little ripple reaches her
and she thinks of only me.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. contains links to his published poetry online.