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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 2, June 2012

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Claire Everett
Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England


Raft

And we are here as on a darkling plain . . .

                                              Matthew Arnold

Sometime after midnight, we haul ourselves onto the raft. Here, at least, there is some semblance of stillness. In a few breaths, while I rest my head on your shoulder, we are one with the pulse of the sea. On a clear night like this, the only reflections belong to ourselves, the moon and the stars. And these are all flotsam.

vanished headland
rocks of the darkling plain . . .
somewhere, still
the grey grind of surf
and shale's cold sting

murmur
of words unformed
of shells unborn
I roll my tongue
around mother-of-pearl

anemones . . .
how slowly red sumi-e
winds through saltwater
your breath on my neck,
your lips brushing mine

deep night
we cross a causeway
of moonlit shells . . .
touch leaves no imprint,
we return to the swell

and so we drift
trailing our fingers
in the wine-dark sea
until night, like the cormorant
dries its wings

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