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.”
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.