The Ocean I Call Mine
Flies land on her wrist, legs, the tips of her eyes
remind us we are alive. “Go find something dead,”
she says. And the sun is here for us, the wind
takes our hair like a sail. The ocean I call mine
as if I was floating inside its womb. She says
she feels this too. We are looking at the stretch
of our mother –
both of us from the same place, but opposite. And
it is strange to look at an ocean you’ve known
your whole life and to see it from another side.
your mother drinking a beer before church on Sunday.
You must look at her and admit Yes – this is my mother.
Flies will land on the lip of her glass. Gentle as a tide
she will brush them away. One shore is not a woman
nor a man. You need a boat to see them in their swell.
And am I anything like an ocean,
can I surprise someone by opening my hand as a wave?
May I too have a moment in sunlight when a boy or a girl
will look at me and say, “Father,
Father I need a boat.”
First published in the Eyewear anthology ‘Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam‘, May 2012