In the delta, I see the dead,
As I left them, or rather, they left me.
In the curved spine of the river they sit,
A casual toe in the current.
And yet, in the past, they gather
On the side where I cannot reach them.
On the bank where the muck leaves no trace,
Where on me, it coats the skin.
In the delta is where it all ends,
where the liquid path has led to.
Beyond the beach they understand
What goes on. And on. And on.
They see beyond the horizon,
They see through the weeds and silt.
A clarity that comes with crossing
That short, irreversible swim.
In the delta the water is warm
And the sun is gold leaf on the surface.
From our separate sides the glare
Makes us radiant all the same.
And the rocks from Virginia’s pockets
Are nothing but sand to her now
As she sprawls out in the long grass
That was once so hard to walk through.
At the delta, we face the rest
On the edge of the earth and existence.
And the mist that covers the distance
Transcends all these living things.
In this place is where I find them,
Where the river spreads into the sea.
At the bottom of the glistening sieve
What was lost comes back to me.
Alanna Duffield is a London-based writer and poet. Her writing, which frequently explores themes of womanhood, love, grief and sex has been published by the BBC, Dear Damsels and features on Spotify. Of ‘DELTA’, she says “this is a poem about finding reflections of the dead in the delta of the River Ouse, Sussex.” @alannaduffieldpoetry
This poem is in response to a prompt selected by our Creative editor Monika Radojevic, “If these rivers lead somewhere, where would they go?” To stay up to date and submit your response to next month’s prompts, follow us on Instagram where we make the announcement.