The Drowning

We slept that summer in the small house
Bedded in a meadow of foxgloves and thistles,
Just a cry from the ocean —

Everyone knew about the boy
Dragged from the water onto the beach,
His lungs pumped with kelp and fry —

You’d span the field to the shore
And enter the water like a flecked stone
Skimming the surface before a plunge.

The ocean loaded with new frequency,
You crackled through the surf,
Unwound like a cord lashing in the currents

You welcomed the dark pitch of the wave,
Jinking through the avalanche of water
Until you’re rolled and crushed

To the ocean floor, and a moment of stillness
As under a slide of snow after the fall,
Before you break elated into blue.



Julian Aiken’s poetry is rooted in family and landscape, and much of his work has engaged with the emotional resonance of place. Originally from the UK, he has lived and worked in Belgium, Spain, and the USA. He occasionally tweets @JulianAiken8.