Flare; Gramineae; The distance between us
  • Claire Dyer

Flare

 

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

 

 

 

Gramineae

 

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.