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.

Inline sub2


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