THE BALLOONIST LILY COVE'S FEAR OF WATER
'Captain', they said with a sneer, as if
you'd pulled the title from nowhere -
lover, you were the ship and stars to me.
That morning, moon and sun shared
a white sky, you leaned close, whispered,
'Whip your skirt off Lily, show 'em
your red bloomers.' The crowd was all
glittering eyes as a band of swallows
chorused me up, summer shifted heather
and moor, I sang Whitby Bells to the trees.
Love, you never mentioned the reservoir
lying like a scythe along Scar Top Road,
swallowing church and field for miles
full of black silence and bones,
wanting me for itself.
The last strip of dry land was a tar road,
atoms of sand rose to meet me,
air exploded, the wind called out.
The last thing I saw was lace
dancing at the edge of water.
First published in July 2017 in the maiden issue of Strix magazine.