Commended - 2019 Tower Poetry Competition, 'Underwater'


on agnes swimming

sitting at the side of the pool

water lapping my legs i

trace letters on the inside

of my teeth and the chlorine

stings my eyes; i lean over to agnes, tell her

that i have seen girls with

arms twice as curved, cello

string taut and bowing as

hers drown in this

very pool, hips

swollen with foam and hair like

sweated silk -


her mouth splits open like a

pomegranate spilling out

red seeds and

she pushes off like i never

said a word. slips


damp skin shining like

milk glass, opalescent

in a square of bright white.


i always thought swimming

was a folding in -

a sharp

collapse of hinges -

but she

folds herself out until

she is as open as an

eyelid, glistening and

repulsive and so

alive i want to scream.


the water traces her

softly - every movement

threaded with light. i burn with

her grace.