Alice Lyons

Two poems

Portrait of a Lady Breathing Alternately

The wetsuit bubbled at my sacrum with seawater.
I shivered, dove through breakers.
Such an urge to swim into the swell.

Museums roiled in me. My cold face
an oval Portrait of a Lady breathing alternately
every three strokes to the sky.

I counted time, counted Souls
in Limbo whom Christ Liberated
on a gessoed wooden panel in the Fogg.

The weather was good for swimming.
It wasn’t stormy. Inishmurray
was my swimming destination.

Relief to be in over my head. To be briny
my spuming body a mass of raging molecules.
Monstrous. Spluttering. Might eat citizens.

All my dead ones fathoms deep in aspic
jellied revenants in a time-space strata.
Their voices bubbled through my heels.

And my mother’s voice was not
her voice— only balloons of motherbreath.
Negative ions quite far from Sligo proper.

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