Poetry

The stonewalling shag

The shag declined to be interviewed, 
wouldn’t allow a photograph, said she knew nothing
about the fish carcasses.
“Ask the throttle-and-munch-em sea riders 
who were here last night.” 

She didn't have a song,
just a certain way of puffing her chest,
of being exactly where she was:
the rock pools, the purple crabs, 
the decomposing seaweed, the curve of the bay. 

A rock higher than the high tide, an easy take off, 
these were her piper and pilchard.

“Off the record, my silence was inevitable 
considering my original disposition 
to dive down under the horizon into the quiet.” 

After a long pause, 
while still looking out to sea, she said: 
“It's like this, those carcasses were of fish I knew
in the way that you used to know the sky at night.” 

“Take what you want from that, 
I don't really care.” 

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Poetry

Fishing a calm sea

We look into the water, 
the absence of wind and swell 
has flattened its surface, so the low 
setting sun cannot bounce light 
into our eyes, there's a rare dullness 
that we can see ourselves in
and to a few arm-lengths below. 
Our faces peak over the boat's rim 
like two cherubs looking into a well. 

Our bait, whole piper, wallow 
in the visible zone, swinging 
a lazy rhythm between two 
bobbing heads. Such tranquil sorrow 
where no tears are shed 
at the looming blackness of it all. 
Our view is narrowed, 
we don't see the cliffs flipped over, 
ascending from green to orange clay, 
to rocks above
                 —a snapper torpedoes 
into the bait, a rod slams 
downwards, the line whizzes, 
the mirror smashed. We’re ejected 
from the sea and plonked 
back in our small boat, father and son, 
winding in the world we know. 
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