Isabel’s Child

by Jane Lovell

I should not have been left there
tiny fingers exploring the air
like some sea creature amazed by an invading tide:
its brilliant cold enormity.
My eyes, blue milk, made out little more than rocks and weed.
Her face remained indistinct:
she twirled a finger in the pool,
stared a while,
then headed off along the shore
before the ripples ceased.

How could I complain?
She’d made sure I had everything I’d need,
watched that first wave wash in
bringing microscopic life on which to feed.
The sun chimed through the water swell,
an explosion of glass beads clattered against my skin.
I waited but she did not return.
The sea curled back and seethed against its depths.
Light fell to the ground like moths, floundering.

My first night seemed immense,
as vast as dream.
I noted the silence of the gulls,
the stilling of the chill water,
an absence of colour.

The absence has always stayed with me
thin cold
blue to grey to black,
and back again,