Martin Brigden CC
Swimming the wild sea
at the autumn equinox.
My God it was cold!
Still gasping from the moment of immersion:
breathing… breathing hard,
knee touching rock as I kicked out.
Eyes up, I took a mouthful of salt
and returned it to the ocean,
warmed by my blood’s heat.
Salt wind in my face.
No matter how hard I worked,
I couldn’t get warm.
Coming back in against the tide,
my right wrist, injury-weakened,
suddenly protested -
that needle-ache, deep in the bone -
and I lost my rhythm,
turned onto my back to take a breather.
Far out on the swells:
the black silhouette of a sight-seeing boat,
crowded with binoculars.
“Is it a seal? An otter? No, too big.”
I stood, resplendent in lycra and goosebumps.
“It’s a person!”
Once, my father to my adolescent vulnerability,
on the rare occasion of my wearing a dress:
“My God, it’s a woman!”
Mum spent ten minutes on the subject: “See how nice you look.
I keep telling you you’d look lovely in a dress. If you’d just get out of those jeans
more often and wear something nice, I’m sure you’d get a boyfriend.”
Blood shares its salt with the moon-wrenched ocean.
Both will buoy you up, I guess,
but stop swimming and you drown just the same.
Behind a basalt windbreak, wrestling a bra strap with
frozen fingers. The clouds parted.
I felt the sun on the back of my neck.
more volcanic than autumnal,
taking me by surprise, then...
running back to the car,
pelted with hailstones:
kisses of ice from the equinoctial lottery.
Yvonne Marjot is a lost kiwi living on an island in the Inner Hebrides. Her first collection, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, won the Britwriters Prize for Poetry in 2012 and is published by Indigo Dreams. She is fascinated by the interface between human mind and the physical world, and her poems often have a scientific or mythological theme.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.