Etymology And Semantics
Rolling among the pebbles I found
a seagull’s skull.
It had been plenished smooth, milky
At first I didn’t recognise it for what it was.
I thought it just an odd shaped stone.
Still smelling of salt, smooth and round
with wide-open eyeholes.
I thought I’d keep it for you
so I held it in my palm.
I thought I’d give it up to you
so you could put it on your shelf.
The sun came out behind the clouds
and threw my shadow over the stones.
With the skull in my hand
I rummaged across the shoreline.
I walked along the low tide
turning the skull, rolling it in my palm.
I put my finger in the eye socket
and turned it around until I heard a snap.
The honeycomb bone had given
and the little thing was in two.
Two equal halves, split.
Split along the lateral cranial ridge.
So then I thought about what I could do.
I thought I could fix it with a pot of glue.
Facing away from the sun to the marram grass
I saw the nesting terns among the rasping blades.
So then I thought I’d walk up to them,
go up there among the dunes.
That’s why you didn’t get the skull –
I dug into the sand and hid it there.