At Carry Farm

Yesterday I showed you some photographs that Tom had taken of an object I’d found on the beach at Carry Farm, and about which I’d subsequently written a poem. Here’s that poem.

At Carry Farm

Here, at the brink of
land and water
a pale ghost

Supple, limpid, damp
in the palm,
in two hours, bone’s
become dry land
brittle and frail
as the air of this October morning.

Its aft
etched out
with cochlear
its flanks
two braids
delicately turned,
as full of intention and desire
as a saint’s twist of flaxen hair.

You reach for florid
but it sits
in its own

Asking its questions of you:
What does a squid beak really look like?
Dogfish? egg case? fin?
Which bleak depths were plumbed
by the freak creature from whom this scrap was cast?

Your mind assigns the object its own categories:
strange thing, dead thing
riven, serous, quaint, a thing of water


you are more out of your element than it.

There’s no
mystery — for
this rent
is simply there
to bear
and consecrate
the ordinary weight
of a body
wind-hauled till
the last storm saw
its sternum

She for whom flight was once
mundane might mock
the bewildered land-bound hand that holds her.

You too should
at your need
to discover
the uncanny in the commonplace.

The world is just itself, and not
as you expected.

See it not, then
as a broken
but as a thing

An exercise in
becoming gesture:
of flight
and the memory of flight:
the quick heart
beneath the wings
beating out
time’s rhythm.

The tick, the trick
of being betwixt
while being:
air becoming earth becoming air.

At Carry Farm
could a trace
a terminus?
a fracture conjure
the immaculate?