by rachel jeffcoat
My son tells me that tomorrow,
in class, they are building tiny
sea defences. They stop the land
from being washed away, to keep
the animals safe. He rolls the names around
like music: groynes, breakwaters,
rip-rap walls. I do not tell him how,
years ago, I turned and planted myself
sturdy in the sand because I knew,
heart-deep, the things that must not
soak him. You cannot stop the tides
from being the tides, but you can say
here, and no further. I said it.
No absences, no ice-cold slap of secrets
would steal his breath, or knock him
off his feet. His animal heart, it only knows
an ocean that still loves him.
I won’t be moved. It’s only sometimes
that I also wish myself some calmer seas -
one day, where I could ask the sun to rinse me clean
Rachel Jeffcoat's poems examine the experiences of motherhood and womanhood, often through the rhythms and transformations of the natural world. She has had work published in Spelt Magazine and Sunday Mornings at the River, among others, and is working on her first full collection. She lives in the south-east of England, in an old house full of children and books.