THE MERMAID AT WHALEY BRIDGE

There is no sand here,
no waves to hide between
nor rocks to bask upon,
but in this still backwater,
deep and green,
where blown petals pepper like confetti
the rain-rippled surface,
I roll and twist, dive
then shoot upwards,
snatch at docks and nettles,
the clocks of dandelion heads and yellow vetch;
and then he spies me
through the doorway of his narrow-boat
from where the smell of late breakfast streams.
He almost speaks,
then remembers his wife is there below.
He holds the door ajar;
I slip onto the bank,
arrange my hair to show I know he’s watching.
He takes a watering-can to fuchsias
on the roof, unaware of the rain.
He hears me singing,
thinks he can walk on water.

 

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