Sleeping on a waterbed

Sleeping on a waterbed

I think I’d prefer the straight stiff bed
in your other spare room but it’s covered
with books and a typewriter. Already

I’m calculating how in the night I’ll get up
out of the waterbed, out of the waves
and come and lift the typewriter off and the books.

So I lie down, dead centre, with the duvet
which is the colour of water seen through wharf slats
that unbelievable turquoise, so deep and sinister

and nothing happens until I turn
and in my ear an immediate susurration
a tiny curled up and released wave

that a shell, perfectly gauged to my weight
and my turning, releases to run to
the edge of the mattress as if a shore

awaits by the boards. Amazed I turn
onto my other side - this is like
swimming and holding the mouth agape

in the protection of an arm - again
the shoreward sound, the perfection of
this sea-simulated measure for measure.


'Sleeping in a Waterbed' from Red Shoes, Te Mata Estate poet laureate 03 (Godwit, 2003), © Elizabeth Smither 2003, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.

Recordings

Books by Elizabeth Smither