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.
Judge’s Report, Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (March/April 2020) By Mandy Pannett The twelve poems selected quickly made their presence felt. Unfortunately, so did quite a few others which caused me quite a lot of uncertainty and mind-changing. There were … Continue reading
Today I follow Baudelaire’s advice, and go out drunk on poetry. Everything is universally nearer, individually much further away. Overhead a helicopter circles, drops through drizzle to the parking lot. Incident hides behind an ambulance parked on the pavement opposite. A hand flops out, small, from a knitted sleeve patterned with pussycats, or possibly rabbits.
The man in an orange tabard crouches down-pumps like an ER doctor on TV. His mate, in a sunset puddle, standing spare-part, has a fag on, so I know it’s over. Blue from the redundant flashing lights still coats the road, but overhead the chopper lifts, black belly rumbling, becomes a fly.
I’m still in time for my train. On the platform while the numbers tick, I look out for the pigeon with no feet. Slumped by the wall he used to crouch beside,is a defeated bundle of grey feathers, snapped bones poking out like hedgehog spines. I spray denial from my can of verse. Tomorrow I will watch his wobbling gait, hear quiet cooing as he tries to court in his hopeful quandary way.
But now I’m in my seat, fields flashing by. Outside the window, I see ancient trees torched by lightening, glow excitingly. Storm rams the reservoirs with bitter acid rain.
Inside, apt similes stream down the pane.
Tinted Glasses by Angelena Demaria was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2019) judged by Mandy Pannett