For Eva


Eleven years spent running my little protection racket;

sterilising surfaces, fending off childhood illnesses and fears,
dispelling myths of monsters hiding in the wardrobe and under the bed,
long summer days spent smothering you with love and sunscreen
and yet today, here I am, letting you slip into an unknown ocean.


I watch as belly to delicate belly the stingrays massage you

garnering giggles as they tickle your tummy.
Then, ever your mother’s daring daughter
your little fingers entwine in mine as we dive down
to caress a poor unsuspecting nurse shark resting on the bottom;
the triumph in your eyes unmistakeable even underwater.


As you clamber onto the diving platform;
long sun-kissed legs tangling, dangling awkwardly over the edge
I realise I don’t have very long before the real predators start circling.
I heave myself out of the water and with a heavy sigh
pad off to the locker room to fetch my spear gun.


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