A poem by Elinor Brooks

Lines from the Creek

You thread the bait
on to the barb with
semi-circular motion:
a pink comma of prawn
robing the hook
in succulent
black- veined flesh.

Your feet sink into
the shingle shelf:
you step back, shift
your weight and flick
the line, feeling through
the rod its tautness
out over blue calm.

I watch you, shirt unbuttoned
in the Queensland sun,
a raised vine of scar
climbing your stomach:
I want to pluck it from you
where it lies
clinging like treachery.

At ten years old your gut
twisted itself in a knot
snagged like the yards of line
spewing from my reel.

I remember how it felt
to cradle your baby skull,
life pulsing in the fontanelles.

I hear a shout. You are
unhooking the first bream;
it flaps, gasping
in the ice-box.
(Lines from the Creek was read at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2011 accompanied by Stevie Gilmore on guitar as part of BlueGate Poets’ Travellers Without Baggage project celebrating the work of Valerie Clarke.)
Elinor Brooks grew up in Edinburgh and now lives in Swindon where she teaches English in a college of FE and is a founder member of BlueGate Poets. Her poems have appeared in several magazines and anthologies, in collaborative exhibitions, on the Big Screen and even on an adshel. More of her work can be read here