The Drowning

The story then became like this:
he’d jumped in off a Clydesdale horse,
then vanished like Eurydice
beneath the sawdust, oil & gorse.
His friends went looking for him there—
sun-scorched in their wool-knit pants—
beneath the rusted excavator,
up from High Street & The Manse.
They brought corned beef & bits of soda
wrapped up in a greaseproof square,
they brought some Hershey’s from the soldiers,
D’Arcy’s kept in earthenware,
and checked the crushers filled with ashlar,
the Morris tipper & the track;
decided they would jump in also
when they failed to bring him back.
The children’s parents brought their hammers,
bits of sheathing, casing nails,
and built a mast from railway sleepers—
darning suntans for their sails—
and built a boat to cross the quarry,
diving where their kids went in,
and followed them into the hollow
which locals said had no bottom.
And so the Mayor dived for the parents
worried for his yearly vote,
and so the Council braved the currents
for their leader’s anecdote.
And then the doctors & the soldiers
followed by the entire town
until they finally filled the swimhole
and all of us were underground.

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