She birthed a baby shark. Her husband, leaving,
said he knew there were no sharks on his side of the family.
Friends were wary visiting because it had to keep
moving or it would die, she had been told.
Its tail smashed her face as it swam around the flat.
Its teeth tore pieces from her other children’s lives.
No supermarket trolley jailed its thrashing, so she
Shopped online, stayed home and drowned in solitude.
There were no other waters where it could swim free-
no other caring sharks and nurturing ocean. She alone.
Sometimes her shark swam slowly enough for her to
touch its velvet skin, and in its round dark eye she saw
herself reflected, knew that even with a harpoon to hand
she could not choose whose body the bolt should blow apart.
Infested Waters by Angelena Demaria was highly commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (March/April 2020) judged by Mandy Pannett.