In a year or two he could be gone
an open coffin at the crematorium
but for now, he has his pride.
‘defied the odds’ a Doctor’s grimace
sure that he’s clinging on, like surfers peaking a wave
or limpets saving themselves from the dog’s tongue.
This gentle wallowing in the shallows, rage
a lap lapping at hind legs
is a coldness at his bum hole whispering
‘this man won’t go to death and is costing us’.
He can feel the saline chill
he can feel, sand between toes,
the Weaver fish, out there, somewhere.
He floats a bit, squat, upright, arse to floor
a buoy adrift not ready yet
and the shallows are a little cold.
But unseen the beach rises in a mournful column
and ahead, suddenly, a wave like a funeral pyre
and he looks for someone, flailing now
like a fish caught in a net.
inspired by John Burnside