Salt #1 • Suzanne Rindell

Everybody knows
the Thames has tides
he’d said,
when I inquired about the lines.
Increments of demarcation
twined around the bulwarks,
blackened rings and at the top
something else maybe – something
lighter, salt stains maybe?

Primrose Hill:
A quieter corner of London.
Babies arriving in hospitals
overlooking the Heath.
Somewhere from a tiny window
— my face. I looked too, thoughts
of freshly burst skin, pressed through
the glass, all the while he pressed himself
inside me. You like this
Don’t you he’d said.
As if I had been given
an honest decision to make.

He showed me his new coat:
It’s shearling,
the latest thing.
Bought it in the vintage shop.
Shearling, I thought.
And pictured the trusting
lamb standing quietly;
not flinching.
The hide flayed away, snipped
thickly from its frame – still
alive. And later, a silent chalk,
salt and iron left on the alter to dry;
the dusky brown skeletal outlines
of flower petals bursting forth
in patterns of irregular bloom.