The Silkies

by David Hart

Someone last Autumn put the evil eye on Mrs Kendrick
for hanging bright crimson knickers on the line
in sight of where the boats come in,

and as the word got around the island
still the knickers flew there,
and they flew through last week’s luminous storms
and through the lovely day we had on Sunday
when Jock proposed to me. Nobody of us

has spoken to Mrs Kendrick all these winter days. My dream
last night told me everyone has been cleared out
and that in the stolen land Mrs Kendrick alone remains,
she is hiding in a cave
below the water line
diving and gliding and eating blenny and shanny with the seals
and whispering to them at the hurt reach of her voice,
It’s all you’ve got
wear the sea close, then she bleeds
all the way home; she is wearing a room
where the plaster flaps off the walls
revealing pictures of the hosts of hell,
dead pelicans queue on the roof,
cupboards sag full of uneaten  meals.
windows have layers of faces into their dew.
yet the wrath of roses on the door
drips loveliness. Boats fill the harbour,

it’s the time of year, Mrs Kendrick makes red hot jam
for any captain away from home that wants it
on his night toast. I kiss Jock

on his rough lips in the shadows.