The kiss kiss kiss of the boats in the water
was all I could hear. When he went
it was quick. Sometimes he dived under,
sometimes he trod water and when
he came up for air his head was glossy black.
At each boat he stopped to rest, lifting
his arms and chest out of the water
but never looking back to the lights
and the laughter. I could see him clearly,
the rise and fall of his shoulders, the nod
and dip of the boats. He didn’t turn
so he didn’t see me, standing in the shadows,
fists clenched, biting my lip to stop
from crying out. I wanted him to find
his way home, to crawl on the stony strip
of shore as the tide retreated and left him behind,
the boats lying like dead things with the finality
of it all, him still alive but wrung out,
and then I could help him, half-carry him,
the sea that clung to him clinging to my clothes
and everything tasting of salt.
Kim Moore lives in Cumbria and works as a Peripatetic Brass Teacher. She won an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2011 and in 2012 her pamphlet ‘If We Could Speak Like Wolves‘ was a winner in the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. The pamphlet will be published in May 2012. She has also had poems published in The TLS, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Magma, The North, Ambit and The Rialto and her reviews have been published in Poetry Review, Mslexia, Staple and The Cadaverine.