Mudlark No. 63 (2017)

			        Whiteford Sands, Gower, cold. November 
	  coming in from the Celtic Sea. Cumulus clouds, 
						          white-blue, sun-lit towers; 
                    their bases, flat, grey, riding the horizon. 

			Sitting in a slack between dunes, shelter 
        from the fierce wind. I feel the hands of the dead, grasping
				  the roots of marram grass, sea holly, scrub trees. 

				  Found a mermaid’s purse in my backpack, 
                among some books. When did I pick it up? Why? 
							         (Things: to keep, put on a shelf) 
    I get up, move slowly across sand flats. Need to return it
				           to the sea. Sand batters my hood, face.

					   Dead bull-seal, half-sifted into mud, 
surrounded by a dead crab, empty plastic water bottles, wrack 
                          threaded with black mussels, cut grass 
             and sheep shit, strips of plastic, candy bar wrappers, 
				               empty snail shells, a frayed green rope...

     Pool of water and bladder-wrack inside the ribs. Line of vertebrae
				    submerged. Leather mouth receded — teeth,
		  a grimace. A few flies work against the cold
							                     on the exposed jawbone. 
			          Nearby, hoof prints of escaped cows.

Christien Gholson  | Tidal Flats 23
Contents | Mudlark No. 63 (2017)