4 poems by Vicky Allen “Starfish”, “Nightfall” “Supplicant” “6:30 AM”,


arms, legs, spread wide
my whole pale body opens up

I am water-lily, gloriously unfurled
I am sea otter, sleekly resting
I am porpoise, smiling as I breach

No, I am woman
peeling off clothes and fears
in the compassionate dark

shedding sorrow
discarding it carelessly
like old socks

laying out thick towels
of bittersweet memories
ready to enfold when I need them

I am alone
but only with my eyes closed
my heart locked

other griefs, other memories
other joys, other sorrows
are folded here too

folded in with our ordinary old
socks and towels
jackets, jumpers

look how we’ve gathered them
a circle in the wet sand
a little battalion, a fellowship of pilgriming strangers

we are soft with joy
lament lost with laughter
wonder rising with the sun

we are starfish
arms, legs, spread wide
our whole selves gloriously unfurled


Soft night falls
welcome peace

silver moon
gilds the hills
with quiet

and I close
weary eyes
with gladness


I am not afraid of the dark, the endless night sky
as much as I fear
closing my eyes to the possibility of light

So on bended knee
I am a supplicant to the ladybird
and receive the eucharist of brambles and rain

Dreaming like a child
I listen for a whisper, a bloom of hope
and hear the soft earth sigh

There are stories still sleeping here:
let them awaken
let them rise

6.30 am

September’s final Friday (I am not ready)
air temperature 11 celsius, sea surface temperature 13 celsius (I calculate the worth)
light offshore wind (the day inhales slowly)
waves 1-2 feet (saltwater, the cure for everything)
first light (a promise)

6.30am, sun still unrisen
6.30am, brittle body aches for bed
6.30am, animal-self longs for comfort, warmth
6.30am, mouth still tasting night, eyes still bleared, blinking
6.30am, we are ready

we are ready so we peel off clothes, peel off sleep
on the grey shrouded beach
we feel our bones protest as
cold feet press into cold sand
and we make our cold path to the edge of the sea

the edge of the sea comes to meet me playfully,
nuzzling my toes 
so I wade in confidently now – I know how this goes 
this keen cut of pain 
the cold is a knife, but I can choose the wounding

I can choose the wounding –
breath goes slow and slower
purposeful and long
on the outbreath I am submitting myself
to the welcome of salt and water and wind and tide

in the welcome of salt and water and wind and tide
there is sharp second as a wave hits my chest, a piercing,
and I forget to breathe, I forget to breathe and I forget to breathe
until, remembering
I sink until I am finally swimming

I am finally swimming
and this is the change
land mammal to water mammal
as close to selkie as I can be
as close to selkie as I can desire

as close to selkie as I can desire
I greet the sea
she is quiet today and
our low voices and laughter join seabird murmurs
but I love it best when I am quiet too, quietly held

quietly held
breathing in the coming low dawn
the sea is cradling me
and cradled, I am content
September’s final Friday

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Vicky Allen


Vicky Allen is the author of Broken Things and other tales (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2020). She’s been widely published in print and online by journals including Mslexia, Stravaig, Saccharine Poetry, Writers Cafe and others, as well as anthologies published by Proost, Dove Tales, Fevers of the Mind and Black Agnes Press. Her spoken word work Wonderlines was performed at the Edinburgh Book Fringe in 2018 and Fringe at the Yard in 2019. She was a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Vicky has a forthcoming “Stickleback” micro collection being published with Hedgehog Poetry Press, and is currently working on a full collection. She also practices as an illustrator/artist as well as working in the charity sector.

Find Vicky on Twitter and Instagram @bringonthejoy 

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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