foot after foot – accumulations
of the pebbles under us
the growths that bury salt
retract their seabirds
as we slide across the shore
to match their rise and fall

and watching from their rocks
one swell between us
and their talons full of fish
they skewer us with buoyancy
and wait us out – the spray
is soaking to our wool

and empty oil drums beat
across the shingle
black weed pulsing flies
into dead tree stumps thrown
by footfall into half a breeze
reverberate the mill-pond

and the water rises
imperceptibly to suck at us
the dunes escaping to the height
of mountains – trackless
to their hidden spines
the mist curls on them

hides the town away
we take on out across the flat
diminished sand to make
the refuge box before the water
reels us in – and open to the sky
wait out the driftwood

cart tracks through the weed
seals and the skeletons of boats
are draining down our footfall
patient in the drip
of mist from buried antlers
cars on tarmac waiting ankle deep

to drag the metal home
white lines unbidden from the swell
and poles to mark us
from a temporary home to bite
and crabwise miss the dive
of seabirds on the slab a pebble’s throw away