Mudlark No. 63 (2017)

	        A red-faced fisherman stands behind two propped poles, 
				                       hands tucked into a black pea coat, fatigues 
					                        tucked into bright green wellies, 
	            grey hair blown back, black eyes on the sea,
				                         sighting between his two lines.

									                    The tide moves in, 
        slate grey water slow-fills fissures between spongy twists of ancient trunks, roots, 
		 (the way sleep comes on). These once-trees, now peat, 
			                                         leftovers from a lost plain, still here, 
	                  sharing their afterlife with the sea at the fisherman’s feet.

             And oil still gushes into the Gulf. A crow blinks silver manganese, holds
						                      a cockle down with one claw, pecks 
					                   at the meat, quick, swallows, 
		        snatches at the meat again, meat-string dangling from its beak. 

          And oil still gushes into the Gulf. Murder, plain and simple. 
		                                 And all I can do is walk this strand, take notes.
Evening: rage, more rage. Herring gulls 
				     circle each other over the Civic Centre, 
					                                         then head out to sea, towards Devon, 
		their wings white,
                                   then black. Call and response: feather to night. A dark song 
				                                               draws them deeper in:

       sparks across the dark cleft become flyway, flyway 
				       			                    channels the spark: all bodies 
		          on earth as map, mapping the body of earth: 

 		 last light off white feathers shapes the eye to see gulls 
			             disappear into blue-grey cloud:

Christien Gholson  | Tidal Flats 18
Contents | Mudlark No. 63 (2017)