Winners 2007: First prize

Charlotte Runcie (Winner)

St Albans High School for Girls

Flying Fish

They named a constellation after us,
pinned us on the night
like interesting butterflies.
As we lay inside the boat
gasping in the breathless air,
we stared up thirstily.

Tossed back, we wriggle close and surface
through horizons. A rainbow tension
of refracted shimmers changes with the light,
breaks around us, rippling down
and running off our wings. We let fly like oriental paper fans,
soaring keenly, like a sound, dive

in warm Atlantic.
Soon I’ll show you the Orinoco,
piranhas and pink dolphins
snapping as our lithe metallic bodies glint above,
me, admiring the spread of your pectoral fins
your ultraviolet bones –

when a distant woman picks mine from her teeth
you’ll be a faded curiosity,
framed in a Japanese museum,
our bleary maiden voyage printed in a marine
encyclopaedia
the pages side by side.