we stopped here once
years ago?
Emerald leaves
dazzling in sun, and the air
heavy and sweet
like an over-ripe peach.

Water brought us,
two spirits from the past,
to a river that ran its course
then disappeared
to clattering rocks and lonely surf
on far, restless waves.

Starred flowers; grassy banks
in unctuous glades.
Birdsong mute in trees overhead.
It was late summer and
all the bluebells were dead,
but I caught their last reflection
in your eyes as I undressed.

We slid like two naiads
to the water’s edge.
My breath was taut as
river-water rushed
and swirled about my thighs.

And we swam
to the dream of drowning,
falling out of time
to the veiled green depths.
Tongues of weeds
licked our flesh
smooth
as weightless pearls.

No blooms decked our hair
though we were quick to worlds
calling us to know.
Until a scrape of rocks,
of fingers, woke us
and we scrabbled
at the slippery pit that lurked
under centuries
of nacred pools.

I was crystalline and cold
when I imagined the worms
writhing in red mud.
The aching scar of water
that would wrap
us still below.

Do you remember
how the world was all
in colour then?
Swimming from dark horror
before it could devour us;
the river’s widening claw
in a golden afternoon;
the sudden flash of blue
in your eye.

Zetetic separator

—Native to the North of England, Anne Lawrence Bradshaw graduated as a mature student in English Literature in 2013. Since then, her work has appeared in several UK literary journals. She occasionally tweets @shrewdbanana, but is usually too busy reading a good book or watching the grass grow tall.

2 Responses

  1. Roland Petrov
    at · Reply

    Lovely. There’s something a bit unsettling here, but nothing that can not be calmed by the repetition of blue eyes.

    1. Anne
      at · Reply

      Thanks, Roland.

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