Longlisted Poem 2012

Rosalind Jana

Hereford Sixth Form College


First step treads from the ebb of hills.
Geese are flecked arrows loosed
from the lake’s glass table.

A line of purple snagged satin
runs down my back.
Neck to waist,
a numb seam, stitched, zipped
Walking is a sea-sickness,
rising through choppy waves.

I wade, determined, each morning, with my father,
to the lake where paths
are held by tangled bushes
and the curve of winter trees.
We pace a little further
every day.

First step treads from the ebb of hills.
Second step starts with a tap on the ice.
Boot held, pressure-less,
Weight is trusting.
We throw stones and they skitter,
denting the smooth skull with cracks.
Three strides are a faith,
my heavy shoulders quiver,
the blades are sails.

To stand while rooks echo,
see branches furred in frost;
to keep feet still on solid nothing,
look back to the shore of brittle reeds,
is to be reversed,
like breathing backwards.
I claim this land of ducks and boats.

Days later we drive past.
The sun has aged snow into brown slush.
Cars creep, schools open, grit boxes close.

The cloth has been pulled from the lake,
leaving only a napkin of swans.
Our footmarks melted, liquid,
while my spine fuses slowly, solid,
with a  prayer of bone and muscle
to repair.
© Rosalind Jana

Project Details

  • Date January 18, 2015
  • Tags 2012 Voyages - Longlisted Poems