Commended - 2019 Tower Poetry Competition, 'Underwater'


the lost sailor’s ecstatic drowning

silence collects on my skin in flakes.

in the background,      her soporific humming.

the ticker-timer of my heartbeat

is frantic;    my fingernails are purple.


we exchange sweet nothings

through the imprints        of my fingertips,

the braille of vesicles under my skin.

my breath curdles.    it’s erotic; the sweet burning

of asphyxiation.


mouth froths like whitecaps     / tongue furs over like coral     /

skin atrophies under her gentle touch.

floating higher,           my eyes roll back into my head

and i give myself,    gladly,     in devotion,      in possession.


i am thrumming    / throbbing   / transmuting.

bubbles of empty blood pop.     alveoli burst in climax;

       stellate particles cartwheel          in slow motion,

  pinpricks of plasma        catch the light.


        words eddy, sucked away,

  a question mark curled tight - don’t answer -


my soft tissues calcify.

          salt constellates;               

her tongue laps all over,      and

    i am cannibalised   / fossilised /   hers in death



i want to have you, she whispers.

         i can’t move my lips but,     you have me,   

 i’m sobbing silently.


      we’re her secret cache;       diasporas of us

sleeping eternally      in her seabed.

left to

suffer her song    in silence.