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Elizabeth Gibson


What I realise on Crosby Beach


Starlings are so beautiful just on their own,

no shame in rushing to food like magnets.

Each flecked and striped in green and every colour,

a star fallen, yet also the whole glorious dark.


I nervously ask for a lunch break, sit awkward on the jut

of carpark with my jumble of malt loaf and smeared jam.

I eat an ice-cream over and over in my head,

refusing myself the mercy of wet cream, snap of cone.


On the drive back to the city, we talk about language,

about never belonging. It is a strange late light in Liverpool,

white and silky, lines of gold behind cranes.


There are three whole floors in Lush, and I am smitten

by shelf on shelf of purple dragons. I guess their power

is in their number, like starlings, but each will be taken,

will become single, become foam and water, become nothing.


A big round crescent-lit moon above the Christmas market

seems too perfect to be real, but then I never see it again.

Everything that could be blocking it moves – I move –

and yet the sky is a vastness of grey-dark.


I ponder hunger as a sharp power, like a bird of prey.

I want to scoop myself up, eat myself, every morsel,

then drop ribs over the city, the sea in the dark, all those men.

The train home: I manage it. Book, samosa, apple slices

and peanut butter. I feed, finally, do something right.

I want there to be someone to be proud of me.

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