Poem by Joanne Clement (UK)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 38.
Receiver of Wrecks
Rumours of whale circle the harbour like so many gulls. Beached,
they said, which gave hope to putting it back. That back rubbed
my ear bones, not his. He’d never driven in half light and full rain
to be told “It’s a game of waiting ‘til the water gives.” And wait we did,
for that’s the pull. Cleasby gave Dad his finest fish. But his line reeled in
more than salmon, it brought scale. Scraped off into the sink, the silvered
armour fell on itself. You let me dress my fingertips, kept the biggest
for yourself. Dried out in opalescence, I held it as a fingerprint of some god,
a whisper of shell. You shouldn’t carry such weight alone. This I knew,
when he let me go to Cresswell’s long corner, bucket ready for the back
and forth of brine, to save that which was sure to die.
Joanne Clement is a PhD candidate at Newcastle University where she is undertaking an ekphrastic investigation into the engravings of Thomas Bewick. The winner of a Northern Promise award in 2012, she writes in North Shields and was most recently short listed for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize.
Photo: "Whitby Harbour" by Paul Stephenson.