Tying the bowline

Slipped back on itself through the first loop, the rope
forms a round window. You’re halfway in. Slick
as a snake charmer you guide your needle point

to pierce the eye, that tooth-shaped space, as words
unravel me until nothing is real: half-hitch, hangman,
hammock knot, and your unflinching fingers spread

to show your workings. Then comes the twist – like this,
then that, your shape-shift hands have me tongue-tied
to the end and again, and again I miss how you do it.





Robin Houghton has been widely published in magazines. She won the 2013 Hamish Canham Prize and the 2014 Stanza Competition. Pamphlet:  The Great Vowel Shift (Telltale Press, 2014). Blog: http://robinhoughtonpoetry.co.uk/ Twitter: @robinhoughton