Lengths for Width

It lies beneath her surface sheen,
the real disturbance of disease,
dementia spread, synapse collapse,
while outwardly she knows the rules –
the courtesies to strangers shown,
as even dares to hold her hand,
mutters sweet nothings to her lobe.


He daily comes from swimming baths,
stiff exercise for sinew strength,
some lengths of pool as butterfly,
prior to residence – not home –
the space where breast-stroke tackles width,
that gap between her mind and his;
from highest board, diving for love,
through water for the flower God,
his Lily, surface tension float.


Tomorrow it will seem the same,
unless more fumbles locked in brain,
meniscus broken, given way,
as lightest touch may break the skein.
Pale sunshine may give way to rain,
endearments whispered, leaning in,
cold shoulder proffered in return,
stare, a rejected sacrifice,
this diamond wedding alien.



Photo by Richard R. Sch√ľnemann on Unsplash


Used by permission of the author.

Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over ...more