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Poetry About Caithness

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Fiona Hamilton

My fat pads of oil-skinned flesh spread
over the rock like dough and glisten.
Blubber. Drip with a silver sheen but Iím so
heavy you wouldnít call it sleek.

Whiskers. Jowls. Damp nose like a dogís.
Eyes that are slits, then wide.
Wrinkles round my mouth like a comic aside.
No sharp edges. No sneer. Come near.

Come and see me slide over my rock,
tip in, splash, go under. See my bulk lift
and veer, corkscrew through the water,
pierce like a spear. I donít care. Here

I dance, I weave waves. Not just blues and greens
but red, brown, gold. Iím soap in their fingers.
I twist and turn. I mutter your name.
Feel no shame.

Sloping back onto my rock with my flippers jutting out,
I am solid mass again, a bursting pod.
I slap myself down on the rock, hard,

my hair coat brill-creamed, back-combed.
I could wise-crack, think of a joke.
Not this time. I lift my face up. Listen.
This is my voice. It calls up from the ocean bed,

a croak, a yelp full of silt and echoes in empty caves.
Can you hear me? This is what I want to say.
I open my jaws wide
and bark your name.


About Fiona Hamilton
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