You’re hugged to my chest in a buoyancy aid
called this is not a Life-jacket, comfortable
in your skin, in the small, Aran woollen
which still holds the animal smell of sodden sheep.
A crop of them prop up the hill, not judging.
The boat of ourselves rises and falls.
Troughs tower like something out of Exodus.
In the pit of the wave, weighted dark,
from which we’re delivered each time to a glimpse
of the Great Blasket, its cataclysm of gulls.
The dark sky’s split, but in the boat, storm-engendered
calm; your heart-beat steady, head let fall,
body’s profligate heat. Your eyelids close
on eyes whose changing grey this sea trusts,
its moods implicit in their clear transitions.
The child hugs my chest like the island its Atlantic.
My back’s bent to the boat’s curve, cradled, rocked,
a nautical lullaby, echo of arcs,
like you’d cup the hand to hear the better;
water, listening, like wood, like skin.