we used to sing “adap- adaptation…
changes in the body to fit a location”

to remember why we can’t breathe
underwater but your fish can.

in the playground, all our bodies made tender
by play, by fingers interlocked, and your bite,

your breathmarks on my wristbone,
you wished away offences caused when

you threatened to tell everyone about me
stealing your crisps. now I mend myself

for a different you. cast my limbs just so that
I might fit more comfortably under your arm,

in the palm of a friend, when I am just so
small, hooked on and impossibly breathless,

sprouting gills in the guilt of coming to know
the impossibility of my environment.

Madeleine Pulman-Jones