poetry

Sleek as an Otter

Sleek as an otter
your fishy flesh flashes
quick silver in the hot light of noontime.
In the murky dark your skin stands stark against it,
before disappearing once again.

You are
in your element.
Undeniable.
There is no you, no it, no other.
Just light, movement, splash and sinew.
You slip through my fingers.
Just when I thought I had you
you are gone.

Longing to Breathe

Eyes tight shut
deep breath
I pinch my nose.
Now. Now!
I leap.
Legs wide
elbows out.
I am
suspended,
before I fall and fall
and then
water rushes up to meet me. 


I am under.
Sucked into
murky depths of
muddy blackness.
Knees buckle to break my fall,
mud squeezes through my toes,
I push now,
up and up,
I kick and fight for the light.

Sensing the surface I feel
the light on my face,
the water warmer and
my face meets the air.
Oh the air! I gasp.
Exhilaration rips through my chest
and at last I breathe, 
deeply, longingly, I breathe.
Floating now,
water billows about me,
holding me,
I surrender.

Before Thinking

It was such a pitiful cry
like something animal, 
a mewling.
We did not know
at first.
Then we ran, 
our hearts knowing,
our legs moving
before thinking.

Twisted and frightened
you lay crumpled.
Like a pile of laundry
left outside in the rain,
grass-stained and sodden-wet,
all of a boy in a fearful jumble,
hard to piece together.

We gathered you up
and carried you in.
We iced your bruises,
and fed you chocolate.
All tenderness and efficiency,
we felt carefully
for breakages.

Today you fell too far from the tree,
but tomorrow you will climb again.
We will hold our breath
and try not to be watchful
for tomorrow you will climb again.

 

 

Vulpes vulpes

Softly, he pads through the brush, 
snout forward, tail low, 
sniffing the air. 
His hunger is sharp,
metallic on his tongue.

Within, a low rumble of unease
disturbs the roost.
Still somnolent they stir. 
Feathers tremble as fear folds in
like the evening mist.

He sees them now, his pulse quickens.
Salivating he starts to pant,
smelling the promise of a 
belly full.

Careworn

At the very bottom of the
embroidery box
lies a tangled mess of thread.

The skeins are loose, 
no longer tightly bound.
The ends frayed,
colors fatally faded.

Careworn hands that 
once held family together, 
stitch by stitch,
now struggle to straighten.

She smoothes her skirt upon her knee.
Staring absently, she recalls a life
negligent with its neglect
of the necessary.

She sees that now.
What mattered.
Picking at a loose thread
she tries to tie it off,
to make it right.

The Call

I’m glad you rang.
That we talked in bright 
and sunlit tones,
exchanging our 
How are yous? 
and 
What’s the news?
No-one would guess what
lies beneath our
cheer.
The weight of silence 
feels stone-cold.
We skip perilously by and
do not stop.
You really do not know,
no-one calls me Sally 
anymore.