The buoy, Shoeburyness

Becky Kingsnorth lives with her husband and young son in East London. A member of Forest Poets, she is previously published in the Shot Glass Journal with Muse-Pie Press, and in The Blue Nib.

The buoy, Shoeburyness

Not then the planned clear view
no blue horizon steadying line, no calm
edge to regulate the breath but

a matchstick defence boom marching
a flung line to Sheppey, the sea
gone, the mudflat monochrome

rubble strewn as if you had parted
outstretched arms and rocks had rolled
at your bidding. Drink in

uninhabitable sand, uninhibited mud!
A glare burn-bright to your eyes
the unbalancing cries of gulls.

And the buoy, tethered
yellow back alarming in the sun
belly smeared with estuary mud.

The chain embedded in the ooze,
each muscular link a wet mouth
unashamedly spattered with crumbs.

Climb now on its back
warm your collar bone and cheek
knock your knuckles, make it speak

and hum as your hanging hand
strokes and pats, the deep rumble
and thud seeming to come

from your own chest pressed flat
against the buoy as if you held
the greater capacity. Your ribs

expand, your spine curves to contain
the air you draw in slower, deeper.
These are the waking hours!

Before the inevitable rise, gentle dance
with the tide disguising the fight
of the body of air held beneath the surface.

And you can know yourself here,
where the defined edge you thought
you needed, has disappeared.
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Recitals

Near Shoeburyness, Southend-on-Sea, UK

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