They say that memories surface, but yours
coalesced under the sea like coral,
an ecosystem unknown to us for years,
blood-red branches accreting cell by cell.
On this internal Great Barrier Reef
silt settled. Soft anemones still
perpetuate in swoons of silent grief
and angel fish hunt invisible krill.
I’ll never dive so deep; I’ve only known
coral around your neck, or in museums –
that living thing, hardened in air to stone –
like the baby’s toy, used to ease teething gums,
plucked from warm currents, pink as amnion,
tipped with a gilt ring to occupy the tongue.
Nancy Campbell has worked as Writer in Residence with several Arctic museums, on the English canal network, and in a mobile library. Her books include a memoir, The Library of Ice, and Disko Bay, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2016. She tweets at @nancycampbelle