Rachel Plummer is a poet from Edinburgh, where she lives with her two young children and too many books. She is a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award recipient and has won or been placed in competitions including the Troubadour, Magic Oxygen and Ouse Washes poetry prizes. She has had poems in magazines including The Dark Horse, Mslexia and The Stinging Fly. In 2016 she received a cultural commission from LGBT History Month to write a collection of children’s poems re-imagining LGBT versions of traditional Scottish folk stories. She has a pamphlet of sci-fi poetry, The Parlour Guide to Exo-Politics, currently available from House Press.
Iris, the Strongest Granny in the World
Iris can power-lift the Thames.
The trick, she says, is all in the balance. The way
she shifts her centre of gravity to accommodate the water’s flowing.
Iris holds the Mississippi
in her firm grip, heaves the Nile up onto her chest, lifts
the Rhine over her head for a slow count of three.
She is deceptively small. Thin wrists. Her fists
can be contained within her husband’s like a conker
in its green shell. She carries him, bridal-style, through wetlands.
Under the championship lights, the other grannies fall away
one by one, until Iris is left alone to kiss the Orinoco
and hold it up to the roaring crowd. When asked, she tells them
training is vital. Each week she finds local streams to pry up
from the land, to shoulder, until her steel hair dampens.
She says all water longs to return to the air.
That rain will raise itself up like the generations.
That even the Amazon, goddess of all rivers, is only vapour
strengthening itself for ascension.