Saltshine 1200 1600 Gerry Stewart

Sand gritted against our teeth,
my host family and I build
a summer memory,
a castle too close to the tide.

Our faces stung
by Norwegian blue skies,
translating forfriskende
as we run along sliding dunes.

Brown pockmarked crabs
bought from a beach van,
joints still sliding smooth.
Broken apart, we suck dry
caves hiding the sweetest meat.

We snack on crab slathered
in majones on slices of rough bread.
Salt from wind and flesh
lashing my tongue.

More than language holding me back,
always a guest, I gather shells, photos
and sea glass, alone.
My souvenirs will be shredded
in the oncoming tide.

We drop the cracked shells,
barnacle-sharp, into the waves
to be ground down
Décollage of wind-worn posters,
paint flaking from the hulls
reveal the year’s scarred layers.

The sea cannot breathe
family into us.

Header photograph © Jeremy Nathan Marks.

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