Maria Sledmere: A Piece of Sea Heart

First the white wake of the ferry
like a lipped contusion, your favourite sentence
enters the blue & green
brighter than bruising

a new harbour with promise of coming
and going; narrative suspense
never held itself longer
than the game permitted, blurring

a dream of strange fish, the sweet plastic symbols
washed up as the buttons we push
for menus, weapons, transitions
between scenes

or seconds, the man-altered clock
internally erupts
the hands split apart into rubies
severed on deck with no terminology
a wounding, salt chips
at windfall

the strongest cobalt archipelago
descends as auctioned chords
and a girl in the corner, some budding flautist
in aorist form, her melodic constraints
and lonely halo
the sorrow of the tide-lapped bay
curved as her concave stomach
lost on the point of return

we walk in rounds
along the island’s spine
an outdated site’s desire lines
spookily clotted with sand
and whisky, the boats all rusted
in a graveyard of snake ropes and sails
worn thin by the wind
worn orange by time, hyperlinks
coiled in slumberous position, then

what should not exist: crystals of foam
& collapsed lanterns
with ferric skeletons, ghost lights
calling old gloamings from shellac hearts

we see cormorants, noises
shatter the smoothness of cloud
and the shivering palmettos
in tandem with perfect tune
her grace notes
dropping like tears on the ocean
in analogue

swallowed by the great forbidden blue
a twanging bow
or accompanied groan, we disembark
in the manner of children
with milk on the breath
and gold in our hair

I do not think the sea will lap up our shallows
it’s possible nobody was ever so green
or forsaken and yet
the octaves loosen, bloom—tentative shifts in the wind
bring us back to the isthmus
of perilous scree, drowning
an outward magic of oily turquoise

the toy rig
shudders with swirling machines
that slip to the nip
of the sky-charred land, organic
platitudes coming aground.


Maria Sledmere is a Glasgow-based writer, critic and MLitt Modernities graduate, with specific interest in Anthropocene aesthetics, dark ecology and metamodernism. She co-edits the post-internet poetry zine SPAM and is a regular contributor to music blogs GoldFlakePaint and RaveChild. Recent work can be found in Adjacent Pineapple, Datableed, L’Éphémère Review, Fluland, From Glasgow to Saturn, Numéro Cinq, Occulum and Zarf. She tweets @mariaxrose.