They say I was not born to this,
my voice soft as sun-warmed sand,
lost to the fetch of a wave.
He rises before dawn,
throws his nets to the daybreak sea,
works his bones on the water.
I walk the markets with his catch,
a haul all gleaming scales and ice,
framed in quiet harbour light.
Love doesn’t pack neatly into crates –
and he loves me, the hushed
ripples of my words.
At night, I bathe the salt from his hands,
moor his deck-worn body with shanties
that whisper a sea’s beat.
I see him, as I tie the beans to bamboo,
secure our supplies against twilight.
Lone stag, antlers open to fading sky,
only the low, splintered fence between us.
I move slowly – intrigued, sliding my feet – and there we are,
faces close, his nose jutting over the divide.
He smells food, but his eyes rest on me,
gentle brown irises weighing his provider.
My hand finds his coat, soft against muscle,
the mottled baby-back long outgrown.
Reaching his neck I touch cool antlers,
feel the even planes that fork to weather.
Claire Walker’s poetry has been published in magazines and on websites including The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Ink Sweat and Tears, And Other Poetry, and Clear Poetry, and in anthologies such as The Chronicles of Eve (Paper Swans Press). She is a Poetry Reader for Three Drops Press, and her first pamphlet, The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile, is published by V. Press.