Watching two old people swim
I have an ache to take a slow walk into water,
with a man loved a lifetime long.
There would be the barest brush of arm on shoulder,
to reassure as cold creeps up bones, older now.
He would know things, be a reader of maps and the sea,
have a head for direction, be able to sniff the air
tell a squall from approaching thunder;
we would walk the sunken lanes, he would know
a badger’s crossing-point, have a voice for reading,
a hand for holding and know the way.
When he was gone, I would stand staring out to sea
like a whaler’s wife. But now, in this fantasy
we stand knee deep, then thigh high in water
fingers touching. We swim, knowing each other’s pace
without looking, then emerge into sun, a slight breeze
cooling drops on thin skin. He comes towards me,
with a yellow towel…..