by Julia Rampen

Seagulls skirl
over red cliffs,
smell of salt
in crevices.
Lobster pots
litter the harbour,
a knocked-out tooth
boats pass through.
a tart reminder
of rival territories.
Sea flays
the harbour wall.

We skim stones:
patter drowning
stifled conversation.
Sometimes a border
shows itself too late.
Sun drags shadows
across pebbled sand,
casts seaweed
as jewels,
gilds blessings
on the tyre
once a seal

until black water
is gnawing our boots
and scales flicker
in night’s net.
The smugglers’ caves
only a different pitch
of dark.
They left messages.
We reach inside words,
feel life’s grit,
loops tightening,
uneven wall.
Stumble forwards,
write secrets of our own.