I stoop to gather geology:
pebbles, blue-grey, cool white,
scribbled with the sea’s
language, older than God.
Cream clam shells too
flushed with pink, inky mussels.
Specimens, for my collection.
I am a specimen too:
a woman of the 19th century,
bundled into stiff layers,
hooped skirts hemmed
with seawater, waist pinched
by bone from creatures
who swim deep in the ocean.
We make our way back up the chalk cliff,
the tide behind us sucking our footprints to nothing.
The waves will not remember us.
But I have treasures to arrange on a shelf
in a room of drapes and heavy brocades
where plants are kept under glass.
Later, I will unwrap my pale skin
in the lamplight,
inspect its lucence
in the tipped mirror,
wonder am I God’s creation.
Penny Ayers: "I’ve won prizes in the Wells Festival of Literature International Poetry Competition 2009, and the Cardiff International Poetry Competition 2013. I’ve had work published in several journals including Brittle Star and The Dawntreader. I help run the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network for writers of prose and poetry living and working in Gloucestershire, UK."
The Ekphrastic Review
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