Loneliness greets me at the Ericeira shell’s mouth. My mock
fisherman’s shack empty, I rattle in its stone vastness; too small
to raise a lasting echo.

Down from the cliffdrop,
surf hurls noise at the rocks, breaks its own scalloped
mosaics, as it contours shoreline ridges.

Linked-hand, two strangers on the sand’s ebbing heat. Their feet
pattern makeshift paths ahead of the tide.

A child runs after.

No sign of the rivers which sourced this palette.

Evening light folds to night ocean. Leaving my portholed
outlook to stand alone on the beach, my brittle-boned frame
shrinks in its soft enamel, and colder black left by the blue’s
wake. My stars here set so far asunder – last splashes of light in
a sky that’s dried-up.

I skim a shell at the waves.
Darkness engulfs it. I imagine its echoes, drowning, as the sea
reclaims its emptiness.

Sarah James (from Be[yond] Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2013)