A Sea-Change

by Lyndsay Coo

I know what it is to drown.


Not emotionally, the aching sweet, lyrical deaths

writers and lovers will have you believe in.


I talk of water, and salt

piercing you

like memories.

And cold like marble slabs

on which the dead are laid


filling your nose and tongue

and every dark crevice

until you freeze from within

and your skin splits as you expand.


I talk of waves, and foam

so unbelievably strong,

so many million million millions of atoms

pouring down on you like rock.


We were not born with gills

and the purity of water chokes us:

it is lighter than air, and more bright,

of more quality and substance than oxygen.


More gentle and more powerful.

More clear and more dark.

It is where we came from.


I know what it is like to drown

and my desire is to return to the ocean’s womb

the soft heartbeat of the deep.

This time there will be no saviour,

no hand to pluck me out of my foetal dream.


I will cut my gills with this razor


and I will swim.