All perihelion week the levels rose and he returned
to check the river’s milky height six times a day.
It lifted up the banks like wholemeal bread
against the sides of a black loaf-tin.
Before breakfast, while the kettle churned
he slipped on a pair of boots and walked
the quarter mile to the harbourside, where another foot
of grass was eaten by the water’s muddled maw
and the shoulder of a submerged wooden bench
displayed its dedication to the pair of lifers
side by side and waterlogged in a weedy swirl.
Twelve days it rained without parole.
All the white wealthy boats lifted in the harbour.
On the Sunday we woke to loud water
like leaping lords against the skylight,
and from downstairs the smell of coffee,
the click of the back door latch, the radio
gameshow’s torrent of applause.
Martha will be joining us at the Caught by the River Social Club on Sunday 28 February. More info/tickets.