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Robin Knight

Rendezvous Monochrome

Ariadne by Sir Arthur Streeton

Like a French film from the sixties:
the sun a bare bulb, the sky a bedsheet, the sea black coffee.
She surfaced, her piscine grey like cigarette smoke bridging
the air and the water, so close my reflection in her eye.
That day, that was all. I slept. In that sleep I inhabited
her lithe swerve, her silence. Her silence
had a soundtrack to lacerate the heart.

The second day she came earlier, as if routine brought her
this way, as if this was a chance encounter. She rolled a little.
I saw her eye again, saw myself there. I waved,
she submerged and was gone.

The third dawn, a thump against the hull.
Momentary hesitation,
I jumped from my berth, banged my head,
clambering steps into greyness. Up and down the deck
until I found her, off the prow, circling.
I jigged and whistled and for the first time she opened
her mouth, her smile rimmed with row upon
row of teeth. The horizon brightened.

The last day. The air warm with the scent of the Sahara.
The boat rocked with the breeze.
The sky a deep gloating blue, the sun callous bright.
She was nowhere.
I set sail, overcome by the brevity of the time we had,
by the impossibilities. I watched astern,
remembering the soundtrack of her silence.


About the writer:
Robin Knight is a mixed-race writer in Sussex, with poetry published in Rattle, The North, SOUTH, Filling Station, The American Journal of Poetry, Griffel, The Dewdrop, The Whirlwind, Visual Verse, and elsewhere. He co-authored a History Press Folk Tale collection. His novel Coyote, set in 19th Century Mexico, is seeking publication.

Image: Ariadne by Sir Arthur Ernest Streeton (1867-1943). Oil on wood panel. 12.7 x 35.4 cm. 1895. Public domain.

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