One More Named Illness

I do not want
one more named illness
that would be a sublime act of greed –
a selfish huzzah –

more drowning in remorse
as others swim carefree
in lakes – in ponds and in seas
without fear of sinking

Suddenly – an unexpected recall
of a place – almost lost – Coxes Lock
that maleficent flour mill
stood above a hand-dug waterway

Exclusive apartments
says Google –
still with brick-skinned faces
over that ever-dangerous depth

A near-redundancy
was obvious to all
forty years before
as a slow decay took hold

Above stuck sluices
hammered signs
denied access by trespass laws
and for all to Be Aware – Deep Water 

With its old labour came cuts
to flow – they filled reserves
to increase their grinding speeds
so reducing depths downstream

We were three boys
adrift in a rope-tied boat
pulled by our father
at his towpath distance

Coxes Lock and its dark pond
were not an option –
even for him
an old submariner

so we were towed
through shallower water
below those
high seeping gates

Now I have no anchor
in this floatation tank –
drifting in thought
and easing my set of pains

from a day’s equation
of hour-paid time
I cannot afford
one more named illness

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