Northwords Now Issue 36

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Diving Belle

by Linda Menzies

Immaculate in her dignity, she drowses in beige,
jolted from a half-formed dream by a distant car horn.
Her bones grind as weighted years shift on a cushion.

The dream lingers as she plunges into memories
of Portobello pool, where her young body dives
through salinated mist, twisting in a parabola of energy.
The wrinkled surface corrugates, releasing silver coins,
opaque pearls; the girl emerges seal-sleek, exulted,
breasting towards the lapped steps and chrome rail.

A suicide blonde – dyed by her own hand – sits poolside.
On guard, she knits briskly, red lipsticked mouth counting.
Her chair creaks vault-loud as wool speckles, damply.

The girl springs from the weathered board, the move
suddenly clumsy, as she fumbles the swallow dive.
Her head bangs the board, but she surfaces, groggy.

The lifeguard clicks her needles without pausing,
Calls out: “Dinnae dae that, hen, you’ll brak’ the board!”

The dream empties: the old woman gazes
beyond the blossom flaring from perfect trees,
and smiles at the memory of the young woman
Who once held silver aloft.