The Diver

by Emily Middleton

His toes curl,
determined
as the slugs in his mother’s vegetable
patch, the boy raises his arms.
The creamy sunset illuminates his muscular
figure. He inhales deeply, pushing his diaphragm
downwards like he’s been taught, so
that the butterflies
in his belly are shrunk to playful moths. He springs,
agile as the spindly-legged frogs in the park
opposite his gran’s. As he tumbles through the air,
the familiar thrill, induced
by this and rollercoasters alone, shoots up his
belly and erupts in his torso. The wind defines
his premature wrinkles and his skin is moulded
easy as clay
into a Picasso-like sculpture. The disorder
reflects his state of mind: a multitude of thoughts press against
his temples; he dismisses them as annoying little buggers
but as each individual notion becomes obsolete, another
slips in, quick as the Fido he wishes he’d had,
to replace it. He sees
his miscalculation
before he feels it. The biting rocks
soar up to meet him, snapping
eagerly in anticipation. The last taste
to grace his tongue is one of
salty seaweed.