Abigail Wyatt writes poetry and short fiction from her home near Redruth in Cornwall. She is a former teacher of English who, despite sometimes missing her students, has never truly regretted leaving the teaching profession in order to concentrate on her own writing. Since 2008, her work has appeared in more than a hundred magazines, journals and anthologies on no less than four continents. She takes particular pleasure and satisfaction in the fact that some of her ex-students now number among her most interested and supportive readers. Abigail Wyatt may be found on Facebook and @AbigailLaLoca.
Bathing with My Father
(Kennack Sands, 1959)
Chest high in the glittering ocean,
beyond the cool shadow of the cliff’s sheer edge
and the long, crooked fingers of dark rock,
I am bobbing, cresting, feeling the lightness of my body
and the pull of the sand between my toes.
In my dreams, I can go back there:
where you are counting waves, waiting
for the big one to come rolling;
it will lift us up like the slow hand of God
and then carry us all the way in.
And I am watching you, feeling the connection,
yet knowing I cannot sustain it;
soon enough, in a hubbub of sandwiches,
hot, sweet drinks and thermos flasks,
gritty, wet towels and spread-eagled costumes,
you will shrink back inside yourself and I will slip, peevish, away.
There are too many of us and I am too small;
my shrill song goes unheard amidst this tumult.
Displaced and sent tumbling by this salt rush and roar,
I am a dogfish in a rock pool full of sharks.
(Originally published in ‘My Cornwall Magazine’ December, 2014)