Remote by Estill Pollock
published in Volume 9, Issue 3 on July 31st, 2002The wash of winter gravel
stretches by the bric-à-brac of beach huts.
A low pinkish light, otherworldly,
chisels contours in the shadows,
mimics tide-line undulations
of waxy kelp and bottle glass.
Driftwood that once was someone's living,
a broken oar, a ripped metre of gunwale,
a signal fire for something
that never arrives, burns for no reason.
A kerosene rag wad nurses greasy flames.
From the tower of the church
St. George's flag,
a fluttering stigmata on a field of white,
orients the eye to the beach path
and a colder east.
The air is empty brightness.
A twist of tarmac rises
to the houses on the upper road.
Along it, a toy, a lurching circuitry
that turns, flips whirring to the levers
a child directs, expressionless,
the light that does not warm
toggled into robot antics.
Huddled to sea grass
and vanished expectations,
this kindling makes a slippery smoke,
oily coils curtailed in the surf's hiss.
I walk a little faster, urgent for direction
as my footprints disappear.