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Ros Barber

Here, the sea is milk. A fishy milk, a cold

bouillabaisse of chalk and fin, served on a clatter

of stone. Within its clouded vision, cod fatten,

mackerel cut their zig-zags through the fog

like children dawdling to a school that has disappeared

and may not, they pray, be there when the whiteness clears.


These cliffs are temporary. Reduced and solid,

born from the warm, tropical broth of stock

and stored in a stack above, an Oxo block

now broken off in chunks and re-dissolved

in the cooler, less forgiving froth

of this liquid finger from the north.


So life revolves. We, too, are soup.

Temporarily solid vats of DNA

fleshed out just long enough to find a mate

with whom to create a different brew.

We dawdle through the fog. Circling above:

vagrants and migrants, the murderous cries of gulls.


From Equinox No 11 (March 2005)

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