A handful of small stones

Sorry, I haven’t been posting a stone daily, though I’ve been thinking about them, I promise! What do you mean, you hadn’t noticed? Oh no, don’t make me question who I think I’m writing for, not again!


these fretful days, blunted contrasts

seaglass the only glowstones, trailing the tidal hem

liquid fractures, tiny skyfalls

fractionally panting in the shifting cloudlight

captured and carried, knocking

pocketful of droplets


darkness and our collected breaths press

the single, inadequate panes between them

until the glass is silvered

by the single streetlight beyond

the etiolated plant on the windowsill

inexpertly pruned by day

delicate Japanese silhouette by night


today all things speak to me of their opposites

this soft, open cast smudge on the stained white skyline

thumbed charcoal among the pony-scrubby grass

only whispers how it used to be for men and boys,

the underground faces, the pitshaft to the bowels

the fear between the molars, pressed

tight and hidden as anthracite


diddy little didcot punched from my ticket

travels with me, a black dot resting

on my black skirt


The end of my habitual trudge is the dead pipe

of the magnesium works, where it walks into the sea

on its massive H-and-A frame legs, quercus brittanicus,

barnacles, rust. The terminus is stoppered

by the old seawater silo, the landward point falters, and hangs

over compacted rubble. On a cross-beam

someone has knotted and slung blue nylon rope,

scavenged and tied a driftwood swing.

Now these forsaken things let me lift my feet

out of the sinking sand.


On the way back from the buried staithes there is a place where the banks have been reinforced with bulwarks of housebricks caged in iron mesh. The makeshift buttresses failed years ago, succumbing to rust and unleashing a brickslide that partially covers the long, larva-like scab of cooled slag from the old works. In amongst the solidified bubble-holes and chattered red bricks, Hannah found one that was blue. Just one. Squatter, deeper and heavier than any other, its blue glaze had been cracked and bleached by the sea, its corners rounded. We took turns carrying it home like a baby against one hip-crook and then the other.


Later, I looked up from my magazine at her working, and thought of blue bricks, touchstones, and how things begin.



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