Three Minutes in December

She walks a yellow ribbon of isolation.
Her belly is an empty shell.

Solace is ocean’s winter voice.
Waves call over tambourine crash of surf,
over coven of harpie gulls,
over sea-wind keening
great, aching shouts that echo her own.

Where the water purses its cold lips
and hisses her name, she harvests
scattered stones,
swaddles them in her skirt.

Insistent breakers murmur
the rudiments of marine language
at her feet, a one-sided conversation,
coaxing her deeper.

She has grasped the ocean’s syntax
when it shouts in her face.
Seagulls mew like wailing babies.
Her empty arms stretch wide.

Trish Veltman came to NZ from England, and lives in Kapiti. In 2012, she retired from teaching for health reasons, and now concentrates on writing – short stories, novels, poems, blog posts, and the occasional acerbic tweet. She has had poems published in magazines including a fine line and Mayhem, and was the winner of the '2020 Page and Blackmore/NZSA short story competition' with her story 'Shoelaces'.