I’m stopped by your lovely wild face looking out from a poster fixed to a gate hey Finn there you are I imagine you dancing some Festival field your whisky-brown hair doing its own fling the poster says you wear an ear-stretcher hey Finn I wish I had seen you without the word Missing printed across your chest
The sea was home as much as our island ground.
We dived with the dolphins and flew into air
with the winged stingray. Were we children or fish?
Our mothers laughed and searched for our fins.
How could there ever be too much water?
Or not enough coral? When we turned in our hands
a spiky, familiar branch, we couldn’t have guessed
how the reef would be ravaged.
Wooden stumps are what’s left of the groyne,
splintered heads just above water. The boardwalk
is lost. We’ve witnessed the ocean hurl itself
against houses and burst through rooms.
Even the stars are on walkabout, constellations
that pointed the way to fishermen, now part
of a ruined map. The sea has become a fickle god.
Licks us clean, spits us out or swallows us down.
Chrissy Banks’ poems have been published widely in magazines, online journals and anthologies, including Agenda, Orbis, the North, the Rialto, the Lake, Antiphon, And Other Poems and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Her first pamphlet was Watching the Home Movies. A full collection, Days of Fire and Flood, was published by Original Plus in 2005. Chrissy won second prize in the inaugural Wordsworth Trust Single Poem Competition in 2017. Her new collection The Uninvited will be published by Indigo Dreams later this year.