‘… he cannot stir a finger, fix his thinking…’ *
by Anna Lawrence
2nd prize winner in the Bare Fiction Prize for Poetry 2015
Forty days since that lass stumbled
from the dunes and crashed
against his shed. No one comes out here,
he’d said, throat rusty.
Boiled a pan of water on the tripod,
but she’d hardly sipped his coffee
when she hawked it up and scrubbed
her flaky lips against her wrist; muttered
about ‘creosote’ and ‘salt’ and ‘warmed-up spit’.
And now he cannot fix his thinking,
nor the gritty wreck of that lad’s
two-stroke twin-cylinder, sullen
and corroding in the sand,
nor his grandad’s bayonet –
a broken sentry, ready at the door.
The bucket shop over the slipway;
still shuttered. If he could stir,
he’d splinter off the slats
across its window. The rows of spades;
their slender metal blades.
* The title is a line from the poem ‘The Seafarer’, The Earliest English Poems, ed. Michael Alexander
‘… he cannot stir a finger, fix his thinking…’ won 2nd prize in the Bare Fiction Prize for Poetry 2015, chosen by Jo Bell, and appeared in Issue 7 of Bare Fiction Magazine in May 2016.