Printed from WriteWords -

Exit wound

by  nickb

Posted: Monday, October 17, 2016
Word Count: 259
Summary: Sorry it's been a while....manic year. Not sure if this works or not?

She hands me a shell, scoured in its nooks.
A slow shape shifter, the concept of itself
thinned in the sluice of the sea. 
Colour turned to bone-bleach,
bright swirls laundered in sea wrack, crab claw.
A rhythmic dissolution.
“Hold it to your ear” she says.
Edges brush my skin,
cold as frosted metal,
damp as an amphibian.
It’s the sound that sucks me in,
a cosmic hiss without perspective,
dislocated from any ground bass
or melodic top line.
Its fine grain swells with the wind
like bonfire smoke
curling in the runnels.
“Hear the sea”?  I nod, unsure.
The sound is encrypted; alien
microwaves crest between worlds.
Time ricochets in my tympanic cavity,
a great ocean surges around a rock.
They closed that beach after a landslip.
The shop’s shutters are salt rusted.
Weeds now perambulate where children
pawed at buckets full of rattling windmills,
cellophaned sticks of rock.
Shortly afterwards
a house fell down the cliff.
They lifted the walkway around the headland,
its pointless stanchions turned black
in the tidal battering.
Nearby I find a limpet.  Unstuck,
it has been rolled over and over;
a large exit wound let out its ghost.
Its emptiness exhales in the wind.
But there is nothing coded in this void,
it is joyous, comforting as a warm counterpane.
I hear the constancy of sunlight,
seaweed being washed up the beach,
the gull horizon cloaked in surf,
and your voice ruffling grass on the cliff top,
leaking in as though through a bedroom window
on a summer evening.