River Wye Weekend
You came in a beat up old blue Landie
with tales of sleeping giants on your lips.
It was your first night in the cottage
when the Wye was skipping over stones,
dividing the spiked water milfoil
with sacred Pumlumon Fawr sunk into the sunset.
We watched a heron draggle
in and out of the water crowfoot beds,
trusted we’d see muntjac or wild boar tomorrow.
Look, there’s a kingfisher, jewelled above the otter’s holt
and later a dipper, teeter-totter,
near the yellow-cress.
Watching frogs collared by ripples
we wish for a grass snake or polecat.
Skipping past horse-tail and great willowherb
you trace the sand martins with your miniature fingertips
while I collect peppery chives from the bedrock
and turn my once carefree soul to my stomach.
It’s not like I want to be one of the selective six million.
It’s not like I had a choice, you tell me
over sedate teacups in the second-hand bookshop.
Your serotonin eyes yo-yo to a full moon
and your blood tattoos become visible, like a Dylan print
about trains or an old map maker’s stained parchment,
as the long sleeves ride up on your pretty flower dress
to expose you to this desiccated world like a tide rushing out.
Then you calmly tell me that you used to see
so many, very different versions of the sky,
where devils and dragons threw fire at the stars
but now all you see is a fog and a glue and a misty grin,
washed out by those asparagus-coloured pills
and a small light, less ordinary and constant
and sometimes you wish for the monsters to return
so you’ll know you’re alive one more time
but you’re afraid of the doorbell and the pavement
and those people who walk down the street,
‘cos they might see you for what you really are.
Dave Lewis is a poet and photographer who also runs the International Welsh Poetry Competition, the Writers of Wales database, Wales Trails and book publishing company Publish & Print. He has been published all over the world in various magazines and websites. For more details visit Dave’s website: www.david-lewis.co.uk