Water & Stone

The tide is trying to swallow the perimeter of the bathing pool. A sandstone crescent with rusted handrails three feet high reminding me of Roman ruins and how I imagine my mum’s cell to look. Being in prison has taken the ice out of her words, the wine from her breath. She writes to me every week, but I haven’t replied, afraid that I’ll fail again at playing my role as life-raft. Denial isn’t something I’ve ever been good at, ocean eyes betray my shallows. A final swell erases the blueprint of the bathing pool, leaving only the bars.

Haloed feet bring me to the hem. In the wind I unravel. One thread to hold me here, one for each of my mothers and one to keep the poem running. Cobbles cast themselves at my feet, asking me to dance. A wave retreats, pulling gold ribbons across my feet. The water in me pinches for permission, waiting until a gunshot thunder and teardrops plough across the pink fields leaping to return home. My biology can’t help it. It wants to fall back into the deepest cup, that blue basin spilling over year by year.

Honesty, then. Would I tell her the sea is still trying to adopt me? The territories of motherhood are cruel, as she knows. A boulder-roll of thunder sends a flock of seagulls screeching from the beach. And the waves keep coming, with pebbles hopping water-brained at my ankles. A choreography depicting the softening of stone. Small traumas begging for me to play.

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