Photo of Mom on the Beach 1950 – Kathleen Strafford

If Picasso were here he would paint
the roundness of your breasts refracting
as though half in water       the heat
would rise and blur dizzy views
                                 into beautiful angles
He would name his work
                                    A Series of Revolutions in Broken Light
Kerouac     jazzed by your rhinestone shades
would take a piece of summer        igniting
words so inflammably pure
they would spark a syncopated beat

You stare at the glint from the water
                  as the horizon snips and burns hard
It’s the calm of a slower beauty leaving
                 the day scattered where noises rearrange
and re-enter the voice of water
                 listening you hear your own heart

I find myself leaning toward
dark strands of hair that wind
around your finger   into the inner parts
of your arms    the comfort of your touch.

If you look hard into the sand Mom
you’ll see the imprints of my knees writing
me into this poem    securing my place  near you
If you dig deeper   you will find bloodstained stones
unborn children surrounding you like silent flowers

Your hands belong to naked air & snapdragons
who will need your touch     Soon you will want
an honest garden where you will weep for bruised
flowers       you will feel the absence of the space
they were drinking.

If you had Picasso’s eyes or Kerouac’s tongue
you could keep the diamonds splashing to your feet
But how can you know what your reflection offers
when the earth is content with its own image
and the only news in water?

Kathleen StraffordKathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry will be published this coming year after graduation, called Her Own Language.  She has been published in magazines & online:  Interpreter’s House; Butcher’s Dog; Algebra of Owls; Fat Damsel; Cinnamon Press Reaching Out’anthology; Trinity’s Journeys; Trinity’s 50th Anniversary Anthology in 2017.