Mums in Wetsuits – by Anna Cole


We are mums in wetsuits
Our bums are big
Our stomachs round
Our breasts strain against the thick, black neoprene
We are zipped in and ready.

We are mums in wetsuits
We hold our body boards
towards the sky
And stride into the salt.
We watch our daughters float and fly on wave back
far out
we do not fear for them
For we have raised them
Us, the fucking fearless mums in wetsuits.
Strength courses through us
Our cores of flint
That birthed those long limbed girls
And edged them on into the crowning,
dancing waves
shouting ‘swim!’

We are mums in wetsuits
We packed lunches and suncream
Rugs and spare pants
Towels and raincoats
Wind breaks and footballs
Hats and crisps and drinks and spades
We buy ice cream and chips
We towel and wipe and dry,
And clap our cricketing, sharp angled freckled boys.

We are mums in wetsuits
Laughing in the gasping, surging break
As the surf takes hold.
Salt crusts in our crows feet,
mascara streams down our faces and on to the wind whipped pink cheeks of our girlhoods.

We are mums in wetsuits
We are in chest deep.
Somewhere in the pale blue distance a sandy toddler cries
Our ears are filled with rushing water
And we answer no child’s call
But thrust our greying heads into the center of the wave
And feel it rise
And fall.