• Claire Dyer



The matchstick woman swims

for the last time


light as gauze

blade thin


it takes three grown men

her son his two sons


perhaps to help her down

the beach club steps


tuck the float around her

push her off into the deep


she’s wearing blue support socks

white all-in-one that would fit a child


her hair tight under a swimming cap

her body a question mark


the sea is mirror and movement

she is nearly ninety-one years old


but in the water is a girl

striking out for the deck where


he is always waiting and

she is smiling as her bones unfurl


her skin sun-kissed

smoothing to a shine


and she tells herself she’s

been the hiss and flare


of sulphur and its after-burn

it’s been worth the wait


to get back here

to this first time






speaking of the different types you …

for example cereal bamboo lawn are


nearly ubiquitous in …

and it takes stem hollow leaf sheath to …


don’t forget savannah prairie tundra

are known habitats that …


always choose yours carefully

from buffalo wheat kentucky blue so …


water gently tread but …

and remember you say


of the different types

rushes sea and sedge are not …


smoking it is …

no one likes a …


and it is never ...

on the other side





The distance between us


Seen from our windows it’s your lawn,

mine, the shape trees make on the sky.


It’s trains and cattle in damp fields,

how birds inexplicably sing at midnight.


It’s a particular moon and night-clouds

which are sometimes the colour and size


of wolves. It’s roads of course, children

and the density of other people’s voices


in the dark. It’s you near a humming

sea; the wind sounding


as wind sounds inside a conch shell,

the curl of shore-waves shining


like metal shines because the sun

is setting. And it’s when we’re in the same place,


briefly, and it’s pouring out of the green glass jar

I keep hidden in the pocket of my best winter coat.