Josk Ekroy

Chapter VII

The love-making of crocodiles
     takes place under
the sludge-dark water. They warble,
splatter and rub the undersides
of yellow-white jaws while spearhead
      whip-tails flounder.

She elevates her head, they nudge
   with questing snouts,
he strokes her body’s roughcast ridge
with both forelegs. They arch their backs,
blow bubbles, play games of twinesnake,
   then with half-shut

eyes, he surveys her, positions
   her with webbed feet
and mounts. Buoyant copulation
lasts for fifteen minutes. She lays
her eggs in sand some yards away,
   well out of sight.

The lovemaking of turtles takes
   place off the shore
of their birth. They’ve found their way back
over one thousand five hundred
miles, navigated the sun’s road,
   by earth’s threadbare

magnetic field. The males cruise, stir,
   quarrel over
arriving females. The victor
bites her shell, clasps her carapace
with his flippers. He forces her
    down, she hovers,

sinks, strives to rise to breathe the air.
   They play and plough
the water for six tumbling hours,
till the male breaks off to patrol,
but she must climb her domicile,
   the beach, to lay.

The love-making of humans takes
   place deep among
a field of straggling charlock
whose petals fleck them with mustard,
or in the woods kissed by bistort.
   Birth is in Spring.

*Josh Ekroy's poems appear in Smith's Knoll, Rialto, The SHOp, and many others. He won second prize in the Doire Press Chapbook Competition 2012 and has a poem in The Best of British Poetry 2011 (Salt).

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