I’ll have to attend to this by myself now,
that task of selecting shells from the beach.
‘Here, what about this one’ you’d say,
reaching over a great find.
I’ll have to do that other job on my own now too,
that one of staring at the sea hands jammed in pockets.
I hear the first year is a year of firsts;
the first sunrise, the first fish supper on a sea wall,
the first new album, the first skelf to be dug at; a new purse.
Hunkered I rake over the sand for a good shell.
Standing up I rear my chin to the sun, and care-less
the small cream cone falls off my limp fingers.
Next I toss away a hard white thumb of quartz.
Too opalescent of grave gravel.
A horny oyster-half yawns like an old ashtray.
I just don't have the heart yet.