Sue Wootton

Out of the Wind

You wander in, oh innocent, just
to get out of the wind. Barely have time
to take one lung-sustaining breath
before you go down, pressed
into the surging bull-kelp – Kirks’
mid-winter sale. The great whites
are out in force, cruising the displays
of cut-price cashmere, never blinking
their cold disc eyes, but snapping 
shawls off the very fingertips of the slow,
draping dorsal fins with pastel pashminas
pretty as sucked-out angel-fish, or black
and flat as a chomped-on wetsuit. You flap
down there, pinned to a rack of leftovers.
It’s buy or die. So you harpoon your way
to the surface, using your brand new pink
umbrella, half-price, very chic, which
inverts in a blossoming manner, anemone
on a stick, the instant you breach
at Lambton Quay and Brandon, glorying
in the full-funnelled southerly wallop.

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