Poem of the week: The Boat Builder

Rebecca O’Connor is author of the novel, He Is Mine and I Have No Other and the poetry collection We’ll Sing Blackbird

Rebecca O’Connor is author of the novel, He Is Mine and I Have No Other and the poetry collection We’ll Sing Blackbird

Rebecca O’Connor is author of the novel, He Is Mine and I Have No Other and the poetry collection We’ll Sing Blackbird

 

That dog on your lap, its paws
resting on your hands as you read the manual -
it has nothing to do with you building a boat
to grieve your brother, I know that, but-

A near death experience is what’s called
taking a spank if you’re a stunt woman
(as you might have been if you hadn’t cried off).
One woman came close when her foam costume
soaked up the sea in a Bond movie.

Boats can be bought flat-pack these days, you know,
ready to assemble. There’s no need-

Your brother would have gone anyway.
He knew the risks. And he knew,
for certain, that you loved him.

Remember joining that queue
outside the phone box on Pennsylvania Avenue -
to call the pound about that dog?
Only to find that every other person
in the line ahead of you had the same idea?

Here’s the marine varnish.
I hope it’s the right one.
It’s all they had.

Rebecca O’Connor is author of the novel, He Is Mine and I Have No Other and the poetry collection We’ll Sing Blackbird which was nominated for the Shine Strong Award. She is editor of The Moth magazine.