Sea Wall

There’s an old power station by your house.
It’s been derelict for years now,
its walls rust-bitten,
scoured by sea gales,
its chimneys
a resting place for gulls.
On bad days, we take the dogs
and walk along the coast,
picking our way over the shattered rocks.
Cement shot through with iron,
hanks of wire,
twists of steel.
I take these misshapen seashells,
fill my pockets.
Later we hide under your duvet,
warming our hands against mugs of tea
as the wind hurls fistfuls of gravel
at your window.

Seagulls mate for life.
A pair nest on the roof opposite
and in spring we watch the chicks hatch,
little shocks of feather and bone,
huddled together against the cold.
They come back every year.

Sometimes I take my hands from my pockets
and find sand under my fingernails.

It makes me feel safe.

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