When I Find William




When I Find William
by Joanna Streetly
Westerly News

(Written after the disappearance of an eight-year old boy
from a beach in Tofino. He was presumed to be swept out
to sea when an extensive search failed to find him.)

When I find William
he is standing on my street
in a misty orange pool 
of street light,
arms dangling, hair
curly with leaves
and I gather him
 up,
loving him as I
 try not to run

The candle burns 
nightly in my window
as if I can lure him
like a moth
as if I will find him
on my morning 
doorstep, crumpled
a modern-day match girl.

But he is never
 crumpled when I find him.
His eyes shine through 
the salal,
seeking out 
my eyes—a boy raccoon
red jacketed, same 
white stripes,
weight 
shifting hand to hand
assessing my intentions
my honour

At the beach 
I find him
in a cave, drawing pictures 
on the walls,
prince of a
 magnificent sandcastle,
not 
in a tidepool
 face down, jacket 
sodden,
surf grass
 for hair, anemones 
for a pillow

I will find him 
every day,
on every walk
and every night
he will come to
 my candle

And he will 
never 
be lost.

— Joanna Streetly

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