The Drowned Woman under London Bridge
by Michael Brett

She was like a picture of a falling girl
Trapped in water as in aspic,
Drowned and waving like a cartoon bear
In the current blowing her sodden hair like ribbons

And the arms stiff below her, flying like Superman,
Her fingers spread out,
Fingers moving, playing an invisible piano of weeds and estuary plankton
As if trying to stop herself falling deeper into the utter darkness-
At which she stared- with eyes wider than two parachutes;

Her head, between some shadow pillars
And a Diesel police boat, lay still as a park football.
The boat was clearing its throat and jerking forward
Like a tubby -too late- fireman climbing inch by inch towards her,

Then, more tenderly than you can imagine,
Two burly River Policemen lifted her -as if she had just been born-
From the River's kiss, its rocking arms, its oily surface diamonds
And her hair and hands fell flat, deflated like a blonde balloon;

And they stared a moment, then like doctors huddling round her bed.
They ran their gloves over her, looking for a driving licence,
A word, a name; looking to see if she had slipped by mistake
Down the grey eel coloured granite steps,
Or if an equally stony heart had bludgeoned her, then pushed her;
Or she if she had climbed the Bridge's balustrade and jumped;

And I should have looked away from such a private moment
As the waves and boats drew around them like a hospital screen,
Or rumour; and the traffic and the River should have stopped
And the waves should have sounded like slow bells;

But all there were, were the Diesel engine glug-glug-glugging
And the sounds of the water from her clothes and the engine together
-Like a murder victim or suicide's bath overflowing- draining into the Thames.

Copyright © 2012 - Michael Brett
Published: 8/16/12   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem