Lynn Davidson

Islay, Aberdeen, Lothian, Brisbane, Pukerua Bay

I saw
a dipper in and out of a stream
pouring through composition into song.

I saw
bull kelp on Islay
make a shore like my shore.

I saw where my great aunt stepped out
in her stylish cinch-waist coat,
out of private violence into the hovering institutions of the street.

I saw
the language inside my language –
yolk, shell, nest, foreknowledge: a chaos of need, then flight.

I saw
at the top of a rise, the round church
so the devil can’t hide in the corners. I circled it, couldn’t get inside.

I recalled my son’s favourite Attenborough clip:
a snow leopard running like milk or glacier down a mountain,
and mine – us side by side in front of it, on the L-shaped couch.

I recalled my daughter after school broke up
in winter, woollen hat and jacket hurled on, paddling the kayak
across the bay. No life jacket and going like a bat out of hell. A quick wave.

I remind myself to finish The Divine
Comedy – I’ve never yet made it out of hell. The dolphin-backs
arcing out of pitch. The hooks.

And I’m going to say again that I saw the dipper,
and I saw bog cotton – outside of a poem
for the first time. Leaning in. Listening.

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