Hampstead Ponds, Tuesday Afternoon

Someone tried to mug me years ago.
I still find it hard; the boundary can be
broken, compacts snapped. I didn’t want to
walk along the water’s edge. See -
six or seven men and boys, a dog
dressed in a coat with a hood. I pushed the buggy
nonetheless, and watched as my son stopped
to pat the dog. A sudden flick and I
was caught and hanging from a nylon thread;
‘Stay still.’ The hook pulled up; ‘Stay still,’ and sharp;
‘Stay still.’ That hook – a fish would know the end
but I, with my articulate fingers, arked
it out and held it up. That inexplicable
moment, there between my thumb and finger.

Natalie Shaw