Of the first drowner she knew little:
aching out of the Glendrain Hills, raw water
drank him down: where Sanna’s river muscles
below the crofts and hearth-bright windows
warm a suicide’s doubt, tempt him
from the waters’ cold vice as it tightens.
“What of the second?” I asked. He lived in Sanna
when her mother was a girl; dressed himself one morning
in the waves’ welcome, by a granite ledge
that shelved some ten or twelve feet under high water.
At low tide they found him: sure as a mountaineer,
spread-eagle on the rock, white-knuckled in kelp.
“The third?” A gamekeeper who waded the tarn
below Meall Nan Con; eye and ear emptied of stag,
and black-throated diver. With fistfuls of shale
weighting his pockets, he greeted patient water,
while in the grass by the tarn’s edge slept
the silence of his loaded gun.
Robert Hodkinson lives in Derbyshire. His first pamphlet collection, Malvern Gibbous, won a Templar Poetry award in 2013.