Definitions of a Shipwreck – by Hannah Stone


5pm – unusual time for him to text.
Just seen a professional. Confirms I have serious issues.
Too drained to talk tonight, if you don’t mind.
I was patient, tried not to hassle him.
Twisted the ‘commitment’ ring he’d placed
on my third finger three months before
to remind you what you mean to me.

Channels of communication closed, one by one.
The telephone seemed out of bounds, at least
until he’d got his head into a better place.
My pulse raced when his name pinged
into my inbox, but there was little enough to read.
Eventually, I got the drift.

Jetsam: part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo, that is purposely cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in times of distress, and is washed ashore.

A turbulent time followed, fear
mostly flooding hope, though both
bobbed up and down on the waves.
I clutched at straws. Finally, he roused himself,
spelled it out blatantly.

Lagan: goods or wreckage that is lying on the bottom of the ocean, sometimes marked by a buoy, which can be reclaimed.

I offered alternatives, compromise.
A patch of grass beside the bench is seared
into my memory, marking where I sat
when I last heard his voice.
I asked about the ring, which I’d swapped
from left hand to right. Silence
was eloquence, or was the signal breaking up?

He posted back my housekeys,
bundled the designer dresses
into cardboard cartons
that hi-jacked me at work one morning,
blocking up the postroom.

Derelict: cargo that is also on the bottom of the ocean, but which no-one has any hope of reclaiming. May also refer to a drifting, abandoned ship.

To casual observers, the whole affair was probably just
Flotsam: floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo.

Note: the definitions given here of different types of shipwreck wreckage have particular status in maritime law.




Hannah is a writer, forager and hill-walker who lives in Leeds. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University. Her first solo collection Lodestone was published by York-based Stairwell Books in 2016. She finds poems in landscapes, people-watching, galleries and libraries as well as the usual love and death stuff. 

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