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The Espy: Track 1, Side 2

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Froth and bubble

It is summer’s end when he slips beneath the surface. 

At one moment afloat, stroking, breathing through the froth and bubble, shards of sea shattering with the movement of the swimmers. 

Shoulders out above the waterline, no wetsuit, feet kicking. And then a pull, a depth charge; a hard kick in the chest. The barrel tightens and the blue light recedes, murky depths rising to grasp at his ribcage, crush on his heart.

Down, down, through the golden bubbles, bubbles turning olive brown, arms reaching upwards as the seaweed straddles thighs, encages the torso, pulling below, into the dark part, down where the water is cold.

Above, the helicopter chops the air, chop-chop-chop, as people push his chest and the water runs from him, as the life drains from him. From above, he’s a starfish, marooned on the sand, arms out, rings of crowd around.

Waves in, waves out, pick you up, carry you, dump you. Pull back out to sea, push down below the waves, feel the drag and the suck. Feet no longer kicking,…

Is the Price Right for the Write Stuff?

Love a Plover

‘Are you aware of the birds? The birds nesting?’ I ask the couple, as they walk along the shoreline towards me with their two dogs off-lead. The bloke growls at me, ‘Our dogs are under effective control,’ as one lollops off, zigzagging its way into the sand dunes.Further down the beach, the small nesting boxes nestle into the grass, past the high water mark. There are ropes to signify ‘stay away’ from this marked-out safety zone.
In this space between land and ocean–a place of submerged and washed up things, of life teeming below the surface and skimming across waves and the shore–small birds, camouflaged among the seaweed and beach grasses, build their tiny nests in depressions in the sand.
I feel like I have a duty to speak, to alert these humans to the precious creatures, at risk on this coastal zone. I wonder how the dog owners will respond. ‘The whole beach here is on-lead during nesting season,’ I say. ’I’m just concerned about the hooded plovers. There are only a few hundred lef…