Jeni Curtis 2014


She dreamed she was a seal

submerged in grey-green waters

another at her side.

no want for breath,

no need to surface

they swam in the depths of the ocean

with whales, dolphins

and darting fish.


On the dresser,

sculpted in black-green stone

a seal,

underneath, a name,

Simanil Kelly, carver,

whom I will never meet.

The heat from my hand

warms its smoothness.

The black and pale striations

speak of its place in the earth

long before it was granted

this shape

this shine.

It does not breathe.

It lies askance, laughing,

flippers raised

in a solid show of joy.


Far below

seals bask in the brisk wind,

the blue-grey sea lashes its foam

and froth across the rocks.

Their fur is wet and shining.

They lie like outcrops,

humped and creased

and rounded.

In the waves

seals body surf and slide.

Pups in a pool

cavort and tussle.

One sleek female lies on her side,

flipper raised nonchalantly,

fingers gloved in leather.

Look, I say,

Look, look,

she’s waving.

On the stone wall

beside me

the little girl waves back,

her other hand clasped warm in mine,

her breath upon my ear.