Shortlisted: Yorkmix Poetry Competition 2018


Two stops away on the train on Sunday afternoon,
Saltburn. Out of the station to smacking
wind and keening seagulls. The shop
with the crooked brow is closed. Hairpin bend
to the seafront. Funfair, broken pier, then just
the sea. Cold slate scribbled by waves. We scrabble
down the rocks, burst bladder wrack with heels and test
the edge of razor shells against our thumbs. Hunt
flat pebbles for skimming – you taught us that. We try
to get the knack that sends a stone once, twice,
three times across the sliding grey water. It’s sleight
of hand. Now you are in your salt element. You pat
your pockets for ice cream money and we clap like seals.

And walking back, we find the shop is open.
You buy us pomegranates, show us how to tear them
open with our teeth, suck and spit out the seeds,
leaving a trail of pinkish pulp like human tissue.

When we get home our mother holds it against you
like she always did.