Waterborne, this changeling
drifts, an inch under brine.
Translucent, just a rippling pink thing.
Soft, not able to drown, and so small,
but with the look and feel
of far more visceral tissue.
An organ sliver, perhaps,
no longer trapped
between microscope slides.
Escaped, to sashay
in gentle harbour waves.
But it’s only a bougainvillea bloom,
cut from life’s papered abundance.
Up there, land-rooted, Kodachrome vines
ramble arches, spill cliffs.
Here, a soaked sample turns morbidly fleshy,
colour thins into grim.
A separated entity
from its dry-alive heyday.
One moment’s death flirts on,
strange as it never was.
Beth McDonough’s work connects strongly with place, particularly to the Tay, where she swims year round. Her poetry is in Gutter, Stand, Magma and elsewhere. In Handfast (with Ruth Aylett) she explored experiences of autism, as Aylett examined dementia. McDonough’s solo pamphlet, Lamping for pickled fish, is published by 4Word.
Photo credit @crmtphotography at http://www.unsplash.com