Conch

In the soft shell of your ear
Mediterranean waves lap gently
like the whispers of children in
ship hulls. Their stomachs roll,
crashing against their ribs,
for the sea is as still as that region
which boils in its own anger.
On the surface of the water
your father’s dreams bubble,
breathe in a half-gasp of salt-air,
then drown like messages in
broken bottles.
How could a landlocked country
hold any of its history in the sea?
You taste salt on your top lip
and your ear pops.

By Nora Selmani

 

[Ship]wrecked 

Beached. A broken wreck, where my heart lies.
Drowned.
Waves of cruel words choked the wood,
a storm raged on, and at last,
tendrils of my monsters dragged us to the ocean floor.
The seaweed strangled.
You lay still.

Bleached. The bones of our ship slumber,
Down here, miles away.
Stripped to the core they creak and moan and cry
for us,
mingling with Whalesong.

Those torn sails once billowed white with joy and
newness. The sea: azure and endless. Our
entwined bodies: the deck; solid as us.
The sea swelled with pride. And waves, they lapped
a gentle lullaby
against our sides and they rocked us to our sleep.

The fishes’ playground: a ribcage.
Yours.
Our treasure chest is robbed.
My own, crushing beneath a thousand leagues,
my air is gone. I can breathe no longer.

Here the sounds are muffled,
ears fill with water
and I become the hull of a dying vessel, and then
nothing at all.

By Caitlin Stanway-Williams

 

The Sea

The sea fights to be freed,
flinging its fist to the rocks
like the heave of a heart
that hurls itself again and again
against the cage of a chest,
I toss my heart to these tides
that tear the shore to shreds
but my heart will not sink,
it crawls back to shore and
waits to be fed.

By Jade Cuttle

 

Friday

The black man stares out of the porthole and watches the grey and green
expanse of the island vanishing into the smoke coloured clouds. The ship
rocks and tilts on the waves. The man touches his oiled ape skin jerkin and
reaches into his mouth, only to be met with nothing. His fingers probe the
shell shaped ridges of his pallet and the absence below them, he strokes his
yellowing teeth. Next door he can hear the sailors muttering, a savage and
incomprehensible drone. Friday shivers and picks up his recorder. Outside
his porthole, he sees the ocean rise and fall like the chest of a sea monster.
Under the shade of a prickly bush, a brown furry animal finds a parcel of
tongue and buries it for later.

By Georgie Tindale