She contemplates a mourning sea, set alight with algae
sprinkled with smooth, broad swimmers’ shoulders.
Rhythmic treading chestnut bodies four feet from the beach
gauge the day’s impending toil and heat.
In front, a line of medusae guard the shingle strip
take watery sentry posts at daybreak,
link tentacles to form
a wave attenuating fence.
She glides past those who have not missed
this daily ritual in seventy summers
and with fresh welts on her legs turns to survey the shore.
Unlike a jellyfish, she has a brain but doubts her instinct for survival.
swoop siren, dive under.
She is touched by mysterious creatures, half-a-billion years old
her neat square of belongings, a tear on the rocks,
as she joins the choral bobbing.
With skin salt-crisped, hair in ropes
a spark of gelatinous energy jolts her from reverie.
She returns to the sand, examines the keloid fan lashes
smokes cigarettes reclined on worn, striped lettini.
Swim now, fix later
goes back to primitive fantasies of breaking barriers, of changing the tide.
The livid purple scars stay for a week, then fade.
Cells absorbed. She never swims in a dawn ocean again.
Originally from Kent in the UK, Lucy moved to France after completing a BA in English Literature and Language from Manchester University. She spent twelve years travelling the world working in the private yachting industry before ‘retiring’ to work as a sommelier and complete a diploma in wine and spirits. She moved to Cork City in 2013 for love and currently works at home writing poetry and short fiction and raising her three small children. One of her poems was shortlisted in the O’Bheal International Five Words Competition 2020 and five poems were published in May by Chris Murray in Poethead.