*Temeslos is Celtic name for the River Thames, the Latin is Tameses and in Sanskrit, Tamas meaning Dark Water
Hard water, you curl soft lapping
slaps against your green tide-marked chest.
Roman nose, flared, you turn cheek bones,
your receding hair-line to the sea, out to Tilbury,
you knew what the rush of wind would bring.
your knotted brows saw the tea-clipper off
with sea shanties and rum. Fish swam in your cataract
eyes and your cracked breast.
Boatmen barged stones on your back. You forget
once you were the tideway,
the dark man, the slither – pushing into yourself,
into a land denned by banks, planks, turnpikes and sewers.
Your tide turns to the sound of bells, gulls,
applause and mobile phone ring tones.
You still have a dirty tongue and that strong-man swell.
At night she dives into wet corridors,
seeps from blankets,
slathers across carpet, lost in the heft;
She’s flatfish slapping down stairs
leaving trails of silver moon-strike.
In night that tastes of felt, she gulps air,
chokes on magnolia walls. Her eyes bulge,
sight blurs. Her shrunken foils
fight her skin. She lungfish flaps
to the conservatory, lumbers
past cracked pots, one eyed broken dolls,
thrashes to the garden pond,
aching with stars, and bellyflops
into a dimpled velvet
where she reconstitutes in ripples
and, at last, she is night swimming,
free of her fins
in the swell of stars, arms stretched in a
yearning dance of encore.
Jessica Mookherjee is Bengali by heritage and was brought up in South Wales. after living in London for over twenty years – she now lives in Tunbridge Wells. She has a background in Biological Anthropology and public health research. She was shortlisted for the Fairacre first pamphlet competition in 2016. Jess’s first poem published was by Agenda in 2015. Her work has since been published regularly and widely in publications such as The Interpreter’s House, Brittle Star, Tears in the Fence among many others. Her reviews of poetry can be found in Ink,Sweat and Tears and the High Window. Her pamphlet – The Swell is to be published by Telltale in the Autumn and she is currently working on her first full collection.