Bringing a boat into a jetty is a precise art.
Come in at too steep an angle and you’ll bump.
Too shallow and you risk being marooned in parallel
with a mocking gulf of water inbetween.
There are so many factors to take into consideration –
wind and current and momentum. And I am
negotiating all of this, while trying to listen to your
abrupt change of subject. Perhaps you have panicked
as you realise this little gesture at romance
is coming to a close. And I realize we are racing each other –
your words, against my floundering attempt to
tether us. I’m lobbing the painter at a cleat, and looking
anywhere you’re not. If we can just make it ashore,
and up the winding path to the pub…
two beers might take the edge of this thing
I know that you have decided to say. And suddenly
I think that I’ll never want to go rowing on this lake again
and losing this childhood pleasure might actually be worse
than whatever else is coming.
Mooring by Helen Eastman was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2019) judged by Terry Jones.