Life begins in water.
Here, on the gravel beach,
where the shifting tides rock clattering pebbles
forward and back in their arms,
and the murmuring sea whispers lullabies in our ears,
I watched you.
You were silver and grey like the sea. Stooped over.
One hand curving sideways, shucking
smooth skittering pebbles out to sea.
The cliff’s arms encircled us.
We ambled together, embraced,
then pulled apart. Solid to liquid.
I walked with my head bent downwards,
scanning the gravelled earth
for a mottled rock shot with rust,
or a limpet shell, curved like a pregnant belly
and all the colours of sand.
Or smooth luminous sea glass, not quite clear,
its edges dulled by the tossing ocean.
All life begins in water.
Rocking towards the moon they lie,
nestled in the deep,
webbed feet and sealed eyelids
somersaulting water ballets in my womb,
to walk this beach with us,
back and forth,
drawn together and apart
like the tides.
Margaret Pritchard Houston is an American expat living in London. Her work has been published in many journals, including Prime Number, Fourth River, and Interrobang, and her play “Alexander” received 4-star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She is a youth worker in the Church of England, where she writes regularly on children’s spirituality, and has a book coming out in 2013.