Cathexis Northwest Press
By: Davinia Hamilton
Child of the sea,
though you hide in a London winter,
you’ll find your blood carries a heat
that cannot be cooled by snow blankets in February.
Your skin blushes terracotta
even under a northern sun
and recalls the sluggish drone of summers
on your island-umbilicus.
A memory of the sea crystallises like salt:
thrusting your toes deeper into sand
until they reach clandestine moisture,
and the sweet acid taste, the cold seedburst
of tomatoes, cherry-picked;
olive oil smeared on your cheeks––
a sunset afterglow.
When you were small, you stood up
where you could see the faded green
rooftops of the village and then
jumped — starfished
or knees tucked to chin—
into the water below.
now, faced with the shimmer of the day,
you retreat in mild-mannered apology.
You don’t write. Your fingers
worry around the rosaries of words.
You remember the sea urchin’s
Keen black spike in your heel,
saltwater dripping from your hair.
Catching fish or the bass line
of a summer anthem through an open
car window, its key bending with distance.
Or sleeping on cold white tiles,
your mother’s smooth calves
and the hem of her green house dress —
her, preparing a stew,
phone between cheek and shoulder,
laughter in a language old as limestone;
the fearsome cockroach red as a boiled sweet.
Many-mouthed island, scuttling,
pulls you back under the waves.
Island of dreaming, of drowning,
of holding your breath underwater
where you can hear your heart in your ears
throbbing in time with the currents
and the seaweed brushes your ankles like hair.
Davinia Hamilton is a multilingual theatre-maker, performer, and poet, particularly interested in the intersection between theatre and activism. She has performed her written and devised work in several UK theatres, and is a founding member of Firetree, a feminist collective of theatre artists with whom she is currently working on Disappearing Women – an international project that combines academic research, consciousness-raising, community-building and devised theatre. She holds a M.Sc. in Digital Media and a MA in Acting. Originally from Malta, she lives in London with her cat, Kali.