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All at Sea


Karan Chambers

My granny spoke of how she learned to swim:
North Sea churning around blue-
tinged limbs, bones chattering, proud
of the way her hardy body kept her
afloat. Her father spent her childhood at sea, slipping
the anchor. When they moved
south, he farmed the land instead. Still dreaming
in currents of blue – he died,

knocked off his bike on a country lane, too far
from the water to drown. It never felt right
to her that his body was interred – he should have drifted
away with the tide. She's trapped now
herself: a ship in a bottle, alone.
I saw her last, behind the glass, far
from sea and shore. But as I pressed my hand
to the window, her face shimmering
in the reflecting sun, I thought I saw her bobbing
on the surface of a blackly-mirrored ocean

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