Tuesday poem: Air in the heart

September 16, 2013

Air in the heart

You might think it would be a good thing,
being light-hearted, like a kite, or a bird
riding up-draughts. But air in the heart
can stop pumping, block flow, rather than
bump it up. Diver into four ringed death,
ventricle prevented; you have blown
your last, and so you expire,
choking, full, oxygenated.
Open mouthed like a fish
surprised in sudden air;
a blimp crashing
through inflation.
Mouth a circle
of airy shock,
an SOS
of ‘O’s.

P.S. Cottier

This jolly little thing, first published in The Mozzie, dates back to my disastrous attempt to scuba dive. That’s only disastrous in the sense that I couldn’t do it, rather than dying, though. Fortunately, I was learning (or failing to learn) in a pool in Canberra.

I had the totally irrational urge to remove the mouthpiece. Not so good in forty metres of water…

I suppose that I’ll never swim with the fishes. But neither, hopefully, will I sleep with them.

For more poetry, press this feather. Which reminds me that I’ll never skydive, either.
Tuesday Poem

My column at Australian Poetry which will go up later this week is about different ways of performing poetry: slams, bush poetry and ‘literary’ readings. Pop over there as well! My first one was on being a poetic guinea pig, as mentioned before.