Selkie – Rachel Plummer


The secret me is a boy.

He takes girlness off like a sealskin:
something that never sat right on his shoulders.

The secret me is broad-shouldered;
the sea can’t contain him,

the land can’t anchor his waves
to its sand.

The secret me swims
with the big fish, brash, he swaggers

like a mermaid, bares teeth
like daggers, barks at the moon when it’s thin.

He’s whiskered, that boy. Thick-skinned.
Quick-finned, always turning tail.

He wears his own skin like a sail,
lets it carry him to where

salt swallows mouthfuls of air.
Let them find me there by the shore:

the girl-seal with a secret
boy inside. Rough-voiced. Black-eyed.

Washed bare
as the beach by the tide.


Rachel Plummer is a recipient of the Scottish Book Trust New Writer Awards 2016 and a Troubadour prizewinner 2014. She has been widely published including in Mslexia, The Stinging Fly, 154 Anthology of Sonnets, the Poetry on the Move scheme and in her co-authored pamphlet, Char (Hidden Door Press, 2016). Her current project is a book of LGBT themed poems based on Scottish mythologies for LGBT Youth Scotland and Creative Scotland.

Read ‘Boy’ also by Rachel Plummer here.


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4 Comments Add yours

  1. montagentle says:

    I particularly like this poem Rachel, the concept, the rhythm, the sounds. Thank you. MoiraG x

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