- Vol. 01
- Chapter 01
For as long as she lived she lived
inside the shade and shelter of this
shell now bleached grubby white
but then greenish dabbed black
and scarred chipped unbroken
by the gigantic effort to be alive
until the time came and the body
spent by the same effort slipped
out from its house and vanished
into the sea lanes and sea courts
made of uncountable dark atoms
leaving no not an angel naturally
not even a ghost but a sort of boat
a coracle where we launch ourselves.
The extinction of a species
curled into parentheses;
into the stiff lip of a shell
weathered into a kiss.
We have archived your bones,
licked sand and sun from them,
garlanded you with a catalogue tag
to dangle in this windless place
of shade and glass
of half-remembered life.
'Be conscious of your fins.' The guidebook phrase stayed with me well after that outing. We left Stonetown on a covered boat named Mr Bean; there was also a Gladiator and a Hakuna Matata in our little fleet. We were to snorkel off the coast of Zanzibar. Be conscious of your fins because they can damage the corals. 'Unfortunately for Zanzibar’s dolphins, things have gotten out of hand these days…'
When I came up, everyone had already taken off their masks and was waiting for me. I climbed back aboard and Mr Bean puttered across to an islet. There was an old ruined fort there, overcome by roots. There was also a paddock of giant tortoises, and they all seemed to be in heat: clambering over each other, clanking shells, rutting in slo-mo.
'The shell is clearest proof of life’s ability to constitute form.' I want to think chaste thoughts when I see this remnant on the screen: labelled, all the life in it vacated, scooped out by time. I want to think of a favourite French philosopher’s musings on nests and shells: the shelters that vertebrates and invertebrates build around themselves respectively, incrementally – felicitous structures that poets and children are drawn to. Or natural historical thoughts, in measured Darwinian prose – patiently tracing the geometries of evolution, uncovering variation, niches, endless forms.
But that was the Galapagos, and this was Zanzibar (which it was never my idea to visit, anyway). Those Pacific islands were left alone until late in the world historical day; Stonetown was slave port that all manner of human misery had passed through. That was The Beagle, this was Mr Bean. A Rough Guide was the only reading matter on board, alternately recommending honeymoon lodges and scolding you for being part of the very tourist ecosystem it was sketching out in such detail.Read more >
I’ve started wandering around the Louvre during my now-vacant breaks. Not at all thoughtlessly: I’ve actually developed a little routine and make sure to pass three specific works in a quite specific order.
The first exhibit is found on the ground floor of the Sully Wing. She has neither head nor arms, marble drapery clinging to her as if she has just escaped some frat boy’s wet T-shirt contest. Her foot rests upon a tortoise. He might have had races to run, hares’ egos to deflate but the goddess is clearly having none of it: Aphrodite Ourania and her club-footed friend. I told you that I had been hurt before and that the experience had toughened me, made me uncaring. ‘Carry your shield on your back, or return on it’ was my motto, I had said, and warned that I could leave at any time. Shields can also serve as coracles. That same evening we swung by a screening of Blade Runner. During an early scene with the Voight-Kampff test when a character declares: ‘You're in a desert, walking along in the sand -’, you had reached for my hand in the darkness.
The second exhibit is François Rude’s Young Neopolitan Fisherboy Playing with a Tortoise. The boy is naked and wears a hat. Either I let my guard down or you got under my skin; whichever, I began to think solely in awful lines of poetry during those days together. Let’s lie here arm in arm, let’s get lyrical, let’s make psalteries of each other’s inexpert mouths. You were taller than me and in order to kiss you I had to lift my chin. That sounds more delicate than the action deserved: I had to crane my neck. I felt impervious and brave, all at once wonderfully dunderheaded with love. Every small thing you did made flush my calipash and each day I woke up knowing that I could have withstood storms for you. Beneath the brickwork of my skin my heart became built like a ziggurat. Our days were glossy and embossed. In the statue, the boy is tickling the tortoise’s face with a reed.Read more >
To use me, first you must hear me. Put my neck-hole to your ear, not too firmly, and hold me up to the reedy wind. My dead voice will catch on the shell’s crimped edge and spiral calmly through the body-hole towards you, firming and growing in authority. And it will say: Use me.
Now wear me on your weaker arm. You’ll find a soft grip for your fingers: that’s the ridge where my neck used to rest. Hovering above the coral, lifted and dropped by the shallow waves, half-dreaming; and then the ridge would press too deeply into the big wrinkle of my throat and I’d jerk awake.
Use me on your weaker arm. Let your stronger claw be free to strike.
Crib your sick third child in me. Let him watch the rain through the body-hole; let him press his palms to the tender grooves that stitch my scales together. His head can lie in the little hollow where mine used to retreat. I’ll tell him how long to stay inside.
My meat was always yours to have. You used me well. Boiled my bones for health; joyfully shared my thighs and shoulders; gave my brains to the eldest woman, since she would be the first to return to the sea. My claws, pierced and strung, made a wedding torc. You left my shell unwashed for a month, letting the scent of my memories evaporate in peace.
Look inside me on a moonless night. I am like a sky whose stars have winked out: edgeless, silent, breathing. I’ll meet you there.
she sells sea she she’ll sound sure
bells for her, alert to x second of
extinction / wait, label this nothing
official or, orificial: opening
an evidence; say, artifice
(du feu) in pinks prinked & frilled
little grisette with a wicked grille
has shrugged off her grisaille
with a leg & a knife & what seems
silence (listen, a salt whisper to scour
the ear) she’s not here for that,
this girl is (not) for sale, is that sale
or salé, a salopette all bucket no spade
thus stranded, sablé (source: Sévigné),
she’s a rich bitten biscuit, teethmarks
an occam mock-up – simple as ____,
sweet as ¬_____: there’s no way to
read this 2D into hap, fingers caught
napped at the undertow – chaotic! all your
wave forms on a spiral to infinitude
her attitude: say, lip & pull it,
all the ‘twixts she cups between
within & wouldn’t you like to know
o!, as the old shanties go, she’ll
sell you sea, as much as the shell
of your two hands can carry
Ever dearest, I pray that you are well.
I pray that it is not long before
you unwind your tape from around tortoise shell,
sail, and stand bold as love at my door.
Name your favourite after me.
Chalk my name on her crinkled carapace
and climb up to find her daily,
grazing guava on a snoring volcano's face.
Ever dearest, pray God be well.
Come down from the fog to the shore
for passage as smooth as shell.
Don't return with her. Leave her be
to slow tread her niche in the South Sea's jaws,
outlasting us into a new century.
this is the shell of the mundane egg
winding from left to right
appearing outside itself
life and heart appear outside itself
you have “not seen before”
turning from left to right
opening to the right
the valve of which opens to the right
a bivalve shell
an elephant’s head
anything shaped like a cauldron
she is “lotus-born”
world blooms from her navel
crusted whorls soften in salt
her staircase body
crawls out of its shell
formed like a palace or temple
Compact home, ergonomically designed to make best use of available space
Tasteful décor, inside and out,
In fashionable neutral colours
Option of complete privacy when required
Single occupancy only
Enquire now if interested –
Homes of this high
specification are expected
to go (fast) slowly
You left a bone for me
while I was sleeping.
The room smelled of mud,
grass, dung. I drank tea
in our bedroom, breathing
in the circumference of a cup
to keep you out.
The bone had been
my feet could bathe in it,
we could sip from it,
I could wear it
and you would call me queen
in your fantasy of bones.
Here the tag is on the top -
better than the toe.
This skull of shell gawps it's yawn,
it gapes – fluid and soft tissue gone -
making a kind of cranium, opened up,
like yours, my twin - four ops,
all “cranio”. All hard, involving
as they do, or did, tools, drills, and stapling -
see the albino train track on your hairline
where your skull caves in.
You, like it, are rendered blind and dry; still
you're unlike it - you struggle on, till time itself caves in,
and doctors, having labelled you, “ a minority of one”,
you slip away to form your own extinction.
The staff took us on holiday to the Isle of Wight. A guesthouse in November. The cornflakes were stalesoft. It rained and we went on a trip to the tarn museum. That’s where I saw you. I picked you up, put you on my head. Quick as. I thought ‘baby bonnet’, stuck my thumb in my mouth, said ga ga goo goo. I heard them laughing. My best noise.
‘This’ll do the trick if ever get beat up again,’ I said, ‘I would have done with you before, in my own baby days.’
The laughing stopped.
Keyworker Steve stepped forward, fined my six Good Behaviour tokens and said sorry to the attendant. (Even though it was obvious I had special needs and therefore she would have let me off.)
Your shell was crunch hard on my skull bones. My baby head was soft, I thought, sudden remembering
I was a soft head then.
Sex in Japan, manners, telephone calls. A passive phase out.
Innocence. A first kiss not infected by cyber porn.
Human identity. Hazed by your sad self on a GTA rush and a million thumbs up for your dog.
Sanity. No time to talk, just pills, pills, pills.
Glorious imperfection. Don’t wax it and stretch it and jab it and pack it. For what? For who?
Focus. Just me and you.
Love for your brother. The winner, the grabber, the rat-racing drone. The rest can eat doughnuts and try to sign on.
Privacy. Can you see me now? What about this? Now? Always a show.
Mum tied it on. ‘So they’ll know who you are,’ she said. Wearing half me clothes, the rest squeezed into a small suitcase, I felt like a badly wrapped parcel – but it didn’t feel much like Christmas. I bit me lip, pushed my fingernails into my palms until it hurt, glad I’d stopped biting them. Though I’d start again soon enough.
We were in the school playground first off. They gave us each a cardboard box. Thinking it was a present, some kids got all excited. I knew better: ‘Gas masks!’ I told the boy next to me; his face dropped.
From there we was herded on to buses that took us to Paddington station. Knuckles clenched, holding myself together, I didn’t shed a single tear. Others did: girls mostly, and mums. Not mine. Kissing me on the cheek mine told me ‘all that fresh air’ would do me good. ‘Like all those holidays we couldn’t afford thrown into one,’ she said, sniffin. And wiping her nose with her sleeve she was gone.
The train stopped at a place I couldn’t pronounce. I was nearly nine, but reading wasn’t my strong point. Though I was good at sums. Could add up well enough to know this didn’t add up to much of a holiday.
Last holiday we’d had was a day at the zoo. Seeing the gorillas and lions all penned in, I wanted to unlock their cages, let’em out. That’s how I felt: caged, trapped.
We stood in this drafty hall, a load of grownups looking over us like we was animals. ‘I’ll take this one!’ a tall, beefy woman said, picking up my suitcase, grabbing me hand, dragging me off.Read more >
when in doubt whether the carcass is her skin or his skull,
stretch your arm, shake it,
feel with the other that all are
layers of the same
truth be told the same
but she lived, yes,
and his skin and her bones
and his brain and the skin of her sandals
were all equally thick
envelopes to future carcass.
White bone home.
This is how I imagine myself
belonging to the next millennia;
no flesh to call my own,
but say my name
(if you can remember, remember)
and hear my body echo back.
I can be archived and reinvented
and made a whole again,
only to be made a hole again
when you leave me,
on a shelf.
An egg boiled for 160 seconds
A fifty year old cleavage
The head that brought
The layer beneath
The pin feathers
Of an adult eagle
Flesh of an over-ripe peach
That patch of clover
We made dreams for
The landing on the Sea of Tranquillity
Pianissimo notes in Jazz
Promises delivered today
Collisions between careful drivers
Ice when it has melted, gone away
In the news today in A.D. 2013,
It says there will be 80,000 homeless
in Britain, and that's just kids and teens
Over 80,000 carapaces so dead and lifeless
In museums in towns and cities it seems.
Like this cracked skull and babies bonnet,
once housed a creature, flesh blood bone'
An empty home with the last gone from it,
The last Tasmanian woman wept alone.
One day there will be no news made to see
A planet with a million dwellings on it
Without a human being roaming free
A dodo,dinosaur and person less planet
Under the spot light
translucence is my home.
Flesh and oil explored, exploited.
banished to comets and stars
space dust for millionaires.
This carapace remains with you,
a reminder, a laminate,
a comb for fine golden hair
a treasure in a sarcophagus.
Now the birds have lent feathers
I can fly into the sky feast
I can fly from such hard bone.
The label is what interests him.
He has time enough to turn the picture,
squint at the inadequate print. Think.
Why he is surprised that Chicago should have a Natural History Museum
God only knows.
It cannot all be skyscrapers and mobsters.
He likes labels. More than he likes museums.
They have used museums mostly to shelter from the rain
and it is inadequate. He has been inadequate within.
He thinks about the urge to read from a label because he can. As oppose
to recalling or imagining the previous realities of anything.
It annoys his family and, of course, he is aware of this.
One cannot be over eighteen and remain silent for an entire afternoon,
however. Someone must show signs of life in a family.
Cheer can be brought with purpose. Or in the cafe, at greater expense.
He sons surf every experience. His wife wishes to linger.
Waiting for her now he thinks that frustration tastes of tea, drunk from paper cups in sidelined
spaces where he can smell his sons’ damp steaming jeans.
His boys’ clothes are marked and stained, defying Ariel, Persil and their tired mother.
She is ill and their jeans are so layered with history
that they should be handled by experts in gloves and studied like an exhibit.
Morecambe, Lancs – A new exhibit arrived at the seaside town’s museum this week: the world’s last known funny bone. Extra security has been hired to quell the crowds desperate to see this rare specimen.
‘I put the huge interest down to Wi-Fi Fryday,’ said museum curator Les Howerd. ‘That day was a turning point. The shock surge of radio waves scrambled our brains and recoded them, and scientists have spent the past 50 years trying to retrieve our sense of humour.’
Of course, even in lighter times it was known that the much fabled ‘funny bone’ in humans isn’t a bone at all – it’s the ulnar nerve, which runs down the inside part of the elbow. When knocked against the humerus (the long bone stretching from elbow to shoulder), the nerve creates that strange sensation which led many to call it the ‘funny bone’. It’s now simply referred to as the ulnar nerve.
Wi-Fi Fryday, on 15 March 2016, may have marked the end of levity for us humans, but in 2025 biologists discovered the existence of an actual funny bone - in Galapagos tortoises. In fact, the bone formed most of the creature’s shell.
The tiny sound these tortoises made was discovered to be laughter, but sadly the species was killed off by Global Warming Day in 2047. The exhibit’s bone is thought to be the only specimen still in existence.
The travelling exhibition starts in Morecambe, Lancashire before making its solemn way to the Scilly Isles and then across the Atlantic to Hancock, Massachusetts.Read more >
A bone-hard carapace,
shell cast on a hot shore,
emptied by the long toil
of leaving the glaucous
sea, scraping broad ribbons
on the sand’s glassy slope .
Gasping, digging a damp hole,
she lays round, sticky eggs,
a hundred leathery balls.
Baked and noon-dried,
she dies, picked clean
by quick scavengers.
Her hatchlings flail
and scuttle towards
the sea, led by the
gazing moon, their plates
like small patterned
purses. Soft, edible,
in the rich sea-soup
into a chamber built with
this ancient architecture.
There were other departments in the museum but she had no interest in the sepia photos taken at the time of the Gold Rush; the men with their pickaxes, staring beyond the camera, the women in long gowns, sleeves rolled up revealing muscular arms, panning arms, that sifted through the tons of stone that had been brought to the surface. That was history. Below ground, was pre-history, the history that belonged to the land, the dirt, the soil, the desert. It was more of a catecomb, an ossiary, a grand collection of bones, sorted into categories according to species and tagged accordingly.
She was on the lower ground level where the musty smell reminded her of all the underground places she been to before; caves, tunnels, graves. Something drew her, an uncanny magnetism that brought her back here, time and time again. She never went on holiday anywhere else. It was always this desert town where the only other tourists were the ones who were dispatched from their buses for a comfort stop while the buses refuelled. The cafe had no air conditioning and the counter had a scattering of dead flies. The service was slow, so slow that many gave up and left, hungry and thirsty.
The museum opened early on week days and closed for long siestas that stretched beyond the hourly clatter of the chapel bell. She was there, just as the museum opened. The conservador came to greet her; he knew her by name. He'd already opened the door to the vault. She looked for the piece that she'd come all this way to see; the carapace, the hood of bones that had contained the body of the ancient creature, the giant. Her friends could not understand why it was special. They would be rushing around their offices, their lives; busy, busy, busy. If only they would come here. They would understand then, about the things that mattered.
All she had wanted was a place to live
underneath. At night the streetlights would glow
tint the roof rosy and her right hand would reach;
stretch out fingertips as if to touch the smooth ceiling, careful
not to disturb the numbing head on her left shoulder.
Today the blood moves freely to fingers
which worry the paper label on a new set of keys.
She will, of course, lie still again, watch streetlight
creep round curtain edge. But not reach up.
Even without Artex this new carapace is rough.
Breath’s harder to catch today. I sag against the nearest solid something.
“We are born an ossuary, my boy, an ossuary!”
I look up. “Sorry, do you want to use this?” I see my support is a solid something with no other use.
“You know how absurd all this... this dressing is?”
Half pointing, half waving at... the Ramones T-shirt?
“Heaving, pulsing lumps, pumps and bellows all waiting to falter and fail us. Threads fraying, pipes clogging. All those moulded clods slowly wasting until they’re nothing but rags clinging to the wire.”
It’s not the Ramones T-shirt. He’s air-moulding imaginary clods. I’m still trying to remember what an ossuary is.
“’The human body begins to die as soon as it is born and carries itself the causes of its destruction.’ An ossuary we are born. A helpless, mewling sack of our own compound remains. A host for the bones we birth when the matter desiccates and the putrid cloak flakes and falls away. We are all of us mothers to terrifying offspring.”
Now I remember what an ossuary is. I’m less sure about desiccation. He places a hand on my shoulder.
“And I’m too old now to pretend it doesn’t frighten me.”Read more >
Interlocked, we slide far between the cabinets. Away from the clamour of the schoolchildren and the cleaners, you tell me of your father – his pumice hands, the surety of his step, the sovereign that hung from his neck.
Here, must gathers: the glass rings fingerprinted; the labels curling brown, telling of South-West Africa, Zaire, Rhodesia. But decades have no hold on the amethyst, the lavulite, the asbestos silified and radiant, gouged still-beating from the earth.
You tell me of your father – his agate eyes, his yellowed teeth, scattered in a field somewhere outside. You lean to kiss me between the back of my ear and the top of my neck – that place that doesn't have a name.
"It's not too far," you'd said.
Truly. It’s the only one of it’s species.
Little. Don’t you think? Rather small.
What sort of being was it, eh?
Not a being.
No. Definitely not a being.
One imagines so.
Hard to say.
Yes. Hard to say.
We think this is it.
Very small. And sentient you say.
Nothing that might imply a power source?
Hard to say.
This display screen…
It is a display screen?
We believe so.
I was going to turn twelve and my brother was ten. After six years in Rome, we were speaking to each other in Italian. It was Easter when our parents told us we had to move, we were going home. How could home be elsewhere? My parents went back home, and my brother and I moved to Athens with them. How could their home be different from our home? Our time in Italy was a thing of the past and we were to learn to love the land, the skies, the language we were told was home, but which we hardly knew.
My mother was a biologist, an evolutionary biologist with many passions: Pushkin, Flaubert, Rabelais, Nesterov, Bruegel, Matisse, Herodotus, red-figure pottery, Greek shadow theatre and cheese. For her, there was always something more you could do, you were never trying hard enough, you were never interested enough. She was a polymath, a fiery woman suffocating you with her fears. My mother was sedentary and her natural environment was the sea. She loved.
My father was strong and patient. An excellent hasapiko dancer and a good laugh. For him, being work-shy was a sin. He liked Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the Mamas and the Papas, Elytis and the smell of petrol on his clothes. Once, he said in his sleep: “We are going to have races with cars, motorcycles and social classes!” When he and my mother were young, he would disappear for days on end to be alone with his mountain. But he would always go back to her, he would always wash back to the sea. My father was a nomad. He loved.
Years have passed now. I left my parents' home. Sucked in the maelstrom of the North Sea, which is now my home, I have become an avid reader, a mediocre dancer and singer, a good swimmer and I am always on the run.Read more >
Not to see the Tyrannosaurus, no matter how intact, but only to stand in a room in the back corner of the museum, where the children weren’t, in the unique blue-black or velvet deep museum darkness, in front of lighted cases, and wish one thing – that Martha was here also. She was one for bones, for cases of toe-bones, prehistoric, indistinguishable, all in a row; for dusty Mediterranean grassy rises cut by cart ruts your car could no longer help but trample over, insensitive to matters of history. Getting lost on the way there – for the getting lost, and the argument that followed, and how the thing at the end dwindled in importance compared to the greater matter of power – who was withholding, and who wielding.
To stand in front of the golden diorama and long to be inside; hold the spear or free the prisoner, features fixed into an expression of dignity, bravery or other emotions befitting those whom history remembers. A wilful forgetting of the next thing; the models melted down ready for the next instalment.
Peter stirred, aware that he had been staring at the same object for some time – staring through it and into the past – his past with Martha, who was dead and would be forgotten. A fragment of something extinct, glowing gently in lunar cream, a cratered thing itself providing shelter within its elegant curve – some vital piece of equipment lovingly carved over time to its best form. Its best not good enough. That generous curve, where a smaller creature might dart across the plush ground to shelter there. A cave, a borrowed carapace.Read more >
We are not tortoises.
Would that we were.
That we could retreat into ourselves
Shutting the outside world out;
Shutting ourselves in.
Our beaks lifted in
A soft tongued salute to
A carapaced, “here’s to me!”
Staring at the sun in defiance,
Unblinking on our
One lettuce leaf at a time.
And don’t you call us slow!
Ageless and ancient,
We will outlast you,
As you rush past…
But outside the dream
we rush with you:
Tortoise-less and in love
Dad’s brain is a worse colour than this and has a larger and more ragged hole. But it is the shell of who he was, his memories, and self escaped. Kept on a shelf in a white plastic bucket, his donation is not in as many pieces as Einstein's, but Dad’s brain does weigh more.
When I found the conditions he was dead in, I wanted, like geochelone galapogeoensis, to have him buried at sea. Dad liked the sea. But they told me a brain has the same properties as semtex. There are rules about human remains. Lobbing him over the side for the seagulls wouldn’t be allowed.
His brain also has a label, which is not as yellow as this. His label is wet with formaldehyde, the black felt tip fuzzing round the edges, without any tippex or crossings out. There’s no talk of Charles the 1st or Galapagos, or of giants and tortoises, no necessity even to write the parasenthisised ‘extinct’ for that is already known. I’m not sure he would even deserve the little ‘ok’. Because it is not ok that he is dead. Nor that I will never have the opportunity to ask him why he lied.
Looking up at the half moon in the sky,
I see, instead, a ship's hammock, old and grey, slung
between two grey-trunked apple trees, and swaying
gently in the breeze. I sway, too, unsteady in sickness.
'The Chief', my grandfather, grips my seven year old hand,
firm and comforting, gets me to the surgery.
My grandfather died when I was eight.The next summer
the hammock frayed right down to its metal eyelets, tipping
me out into the grass. It might have been another death.
Strange, how a death leaves a mark,
that white bones are a legacy,
a tribute to all that has gone before.
Years after blood and matter are gone
their rightful place is empty,
the flow of energy disappeared.
This little plodding soldier
forsook a quiet life on grassy banks
and snowy silence.
He left the greenery of luxury
for an empty shell
and like a flat-bottomed boat,
reemed and jugged he left a husk
a hunted elephant's tusk.
I'd like to see you
trace bone cracks to their calcium ends
and weigh each pore each cavern mouth
these still dreams supported by cartilage
until you hit hard upon my shoulder blade
and knock off the gum between the bones,
stand tall among the ruins with a flashlight,
feeling transparent like a museum glass
I'd like to you see you.
then, I'd like to see you age.
I found it lodged in the zinc-grey sand,
a gleaming curlicue, white as bone
and larger than the rest.
A mermaid's ear, my mother said.
I put it in my pocket to keep,
a memento of our holiday by the sea.
I have it still on my shelf.
It's my only home.
Skullcap as tight
Hand in a glove.
Weathered with love.
A silk helmet
At the Wailing Wall
Waiting for a stone to fall.
A Messiah message
With kind intent
Or a gas mask
Too futile to prevent
In its shelter
Within its sacred prayer.
It was then that she realised her marriage belonged in a museum, too. Empty. Hollow. Labelled wrong and rewritten over and over again. You could still see the mistakes they had made through the tipex.
They were extinct.
I slip away
leave my bones
too heavy to hold
just enough air
to slip away.
stripped of all
our shorthand for beast or human
yet the core that remains
to speak of ourselves when none
of the pulp
of existing can reply
the hidden bulb
of a paper lantern
with filaments about to blow
I think it is
a bone or
that lean toward
a white river or
to fit the mouth
of thick grass
or is it meant
to hold a
in the hollow
but fears the
the one that will
to steal its scent.
To me, it is exactly the lip of a crust
she is hiding in that crevice
wanting not to be found
The yellowing walls rub off on her
infected notion of what the moon is
made up of, cheese
Clinging to the callous edges like a
barnacle on a whales back
she struggles to keep hold
The crashing waves are
rushing through her eyeballs
she is blind
mad as a hatter
and tired of the constant
battle with the muscles of the ocean
They crush her like a small hollow shell
claim your clam
The land of shell arrives
You put a price tag with a long sting
Are you sure
You know the price?
I don’t –
I never found a perfect teacher
Who can teach me all
The shell at shore or at the attic
To hold later
Again and again
To smell the blue green sea
The old museum wall
Selling the antique history
Of chequered black line!