National Poetry Day 2019 – just for fun

Marooned
 She’d sat already far too long on the beach:
so long she was as desiccated
as the coconuts beyond those fringing palms
so long she’d gotten bored
with her old friends gold-legged starfish
who had entertained her,
miscounting aloud each other’s fingers & toes
& quarrelling far into the night,
so long the desert island novelty had worn clean off
& she had read to the end of the Bible
& the Complete Works of Shakespeare
smashed her wretched desert island discs
drowned them all in despair until
   just as she’d thought of giving up                  wading out
to perform some crazed act of sacrifice
to grinning sharks (who might have enjoyed
her iconoclastic sense of humour
as well as her fingers & ten pink toes)
   the waves rose frothing up
presented her—
right into her outstretched hand—
with a bottle:
no sparkling South Sea bubbly
no fisherman’s tall tales on fractured parchment
of albatrosses painted oceans
no luscious vintage    from distant California
no irksome lovelorn messages
but a genie uncurling gorgeously, ready
to unroll a magic carpet & transport her
out of her ennui
out of the hallucinating desert island & its hackneyed discs
out of the paperback novel she’d been living now for oh so long
to lacklustre grit & greyness, the smog & streaming cars & cabs
of Manhattan or maybe Maida Vale in fog-soaked March
to where at least she understood
the colourless weight of working weekdays:
the kind that did not ask of her so much imagination.
Words and images © Lizzie Ballagher

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