The Poetry Shed

Caroline Gilfillan laughing Little gods

Little gods, we grabbed chalk boulders, tugged
till they capitulated with a belch of sea breath,
and lay on their backs, helpless, while we
rifled through the warm water
of the rock pool we’d excavated.

We hooted when a sea anemone waved
orange tentacles at us – a mini Titan throwing
bolts of brine. That drab shrimp
paddled right into the dip of your palm
and you pulled the sea-snail off its rock
with a laugh of triumph, though it
clenched its muscle foot tight.

Then came a day when a transparent crab
no larger than my thumbnail
dug itself into the wet sand with a flurry of claws
so furious, so determined, that I
wobbled, lost my balance altogether.

Small sea-salt creatures, you gave me
my first inkling of conquest and resistance
as I crouched in the blaze of the sun,
getting the seat of my shorts…

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