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HIS subject is the sea and he
is subject to the sea there is
no subtext his subject is the
sea  and he reflects the way
it varies      even as it seems
so still           it seems so still
there is no subtext       but it
is not still  it varies      there
is movement here     that he
reflects on    and he reflects
this     as he stares out from
the surface   as a horizontal
line  a little below eye-level
runs either side of his head
a clean draughtsman’s line
that separates   sea and sky
his mind may be working
to empty itself of what he
sees  to empty itself of what
has been seen so he looks
at a sea that seems empty
the sea he knows  is storied
that stores what he has
seen    bodies he could not
look at that looked him in
the eye       companions
known  unknown and not
forgotten      in the too-full
boat on the lonely sea that
is not empty   ....the .filled
boat that rocked him   that
left him rocked       and left
him looking toward us now

Tim Dooley is a tutor for the Poetry School and was Reviews Editor of Poetry London between 2008 and 2017. His most recent collections are The Sound We Make Ourselves (2016) and Weemoed (2017). ‘Boy’ first appeared in the Wretched Strangers anthology published by Boiler House Press in 2018.

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