By Helen Larham
I have always loved him
despite his neglect
so when I stepped out onto the sea
he bore my full weight, everything:
All those times I had ventured in
and they had laughed
at my frantic back stroking
and butterflying like a frog.
My woollen costume
expanding in the water
corrugating, like elephant skin
uncovering yards of goose flesh.
He took all of me.
The sea laid himself flat, calm.
Cradled me, gently nudging
until I obliged and turned on my back.
Floating weightless, untethered
drifting away from myself.
He let me have all of him;
Sometimes with waves as high
as my neck could crane
swirling me up in a whirlpool
then down to the ghost wrecks below.
Other times rocking me asleep
in the grey mist.
When he at last grew tired of our games
he beached me at my home port
gave me back to the land-
to my family.
I sat silent till the lights blossomed
in the black, just beyond the threshold
of the town.
I sat with the whole expanse of him
still echoing in my head
and with the tidal moon
still lapping at my blood.