They have done this before, the two lovers,
each believing the other is drowning –
parting their lips as the salt water covers
they smile at the precision of their timing.

There is a simplicity in the bound hands:
the skin’s shudder, the bubbles on blue lips
which rise like tiny unheard songs, the strands
of weightless hair which billow and collapse.

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They have learned the patience to fall and drift
as the skeins of sunlight dissipate;
and to measure in secret the other’s weight:

then wriggle free, let drop and begin to lift;
and not to think of who might take the gift
of the seabed’s blank and tender slate.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated