Instinct, by Craig Dobson

All the long days fraying at summer’s
stitch by the sea loch, gulling you
for rent to pay the fisherman.
The smells of peat burning,
cod guts and rotting weed,
bird cries above the dull, mad
slap of water, torn nets dancing
in the wind between shore-borne hulls.

Your tears in those August downpours
we trod when the cottage couldn’t hold
my dreams of leaving once your purse
had played its mermaid to my thirst,
and your treasured chest had emptied
September’s bitter end. I’ll never touch
Scotch again: its iron gleam among
coital dunes from which a moon-wet
tide couldn’t hope to hide the whales
pearling their path to the ice fields
far from our dawn’s bitter gating.

Back from hospital, on the hill above
the harbour, you held your answer
while the storm stayed my way –
boats lurching from their buoys,
waves thumping the long shore
where your screams’ bladed threats
followed me through the gale’s end
to the first ferry I could find, bright
as a cherry on the bay’s placid glaze.

My one gangplank stride broke your embrace
under a clearing sky whose horizon-scan
showed only a lone grey cloud, until
its vague, humped form suddenly shadowed
the ultrasound you held out on your phone.


About Craig Dobson

Craig’s had poems published in The North, The Rialto, Stand, Prole, Magma, Poetry Ireland Review, New Welsh Review, The London Magazine, Poetry Salzburg Review amongst others. He also writes plays. He works as a librarian in London.