By Ross Thompson


a birthday party in a swimming pool,

a dozen children in dark green water,


a pirate galleon and a dinosaur, 

a frosted window and a heated floor,


a slippery tile and a fractured skull, 

a river rapid and a razor blade,


a siren wailing and a warning sign,

a roar of cheering and a wave machine,


a flooded village and a tsunami, 

a panicked boy who never learnt to swim,


a wonky ladder and a loose footing,

a crack in the face from a rubber ring,


a mouthful of salt and a punctured lung,

a slipping beneath and an undertow,


a stranger's handshake and a broken wave, 

a gasping for air and a floundering, 


a choke and a slap, a choke and a slap,

a breathing and a breathing and a breath.




Ross Thompson is a writer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His work appears or is forthcoming in publications such as The Honest Ulsterman, One, The Island Review, 4 x 4, The Freshwater Review, The Wild Word, Popshot and Memory House. Most recently, Ross was shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney New Writing Award, placed joint runner-up in the Mairtín Crawford Award, and read The Slipping Forecast on the BBC for The Arts Show. He was also commissioned by NI Screen to write a poetic sequence for the 'Coast To Coast' project. His poem Postscripts is included in The Poetry Jukebox installation in Belfast.