A Lucky Catch
Grandma left Jamaica alone,
not mentioning my grandfather
even once upon a slip of time.
His face her best kept secret,
like the lucky brass pipe hidden
under her bed all my childhood.
‘Why is it lucky Grandma?’
A pebble found in Gut’s river rubs
smooth with luck, that dull pipe
diverted condensate from boilers,
too charmless to plumb into a poem.
Like holding onto a lucky catch,
A trickle of the past drained out
when I held the pipe: it weaponised
to beat back violent attacks, pound
out luck made with her own hands
sailing alone to England. I was lucky
Grandma never needed my Grandfather.
Downstairs had flooded overnight;
drenched curtains, floating furniture:
my parents’ divorce had finally broken
its banks, pouring through every gap
our house offered, lapping into
my sleep like water into a cave.
Water tastes of silence: soft waters
of Yorkshire, rich with minerals;
tap water dad called Thames brew.
I swam out and began to float in
flavours only the drowning know,
gulping my reflection on the surface
of flowing water. But when I looked
I never saw my face; I saw an open cave,
waves exploding into its mouth.
I saw years dissolve into currents
of a flowing place I had become:
a single body of water where
separate lives still meet as one.
Anthony Holness lives and works in London. His poetry and short stories have been published by Popshot, Eunoia Review and The Fiction Pool.