[Spurn Point]

I have never been. But memories intrude. The razor shell with which you wrote your name saws gently across the ligaments of my wrist. (How dangerous I thought a word!) The occasional glare sharper on the wet sand than the sea. The day is improving; I feel its hours in my legs. My skin – tautened by salt-spray and a ‘testing’ July – is more than usually there. The horizon is missing; people are made mark-like by the near distance; scale is a verdict of the sky. I play historian to the conflict between gutweed and bladder wrack. Your thoughts are elsewhere, I guess towards them. The Lord’s prayer, perhaps; or gelatine; surely, a gesture, a sacrifice? We discuss the distance back as if it could be argued and so decided. The day improves. Seagulls catch their first shadow on the strand. Dogwalkers, their cagoule hoods down, merrily-wet, bring news back from the front, pressing their smiles on us. A fork through raspberries. It’ll be gone by the time we get there. The weather is moving off and we’ll have a view. Before that, we sight the lighthouse pair – siblings of obsolescence. We have reached somewhere

‘out of reach’. Have we
been here before? I’m tempted
to say, ‘Honestly… ’

No, it’s twenty years later; and still the past never happened. There are symbols everywhere. The road, cut off, reaches a nature reserve. People are protective of the birds. I try your name with a broken mussel half. It doesn’t read well. My shoe beats the water to it. Your reply, as much to the tide of the Humber as to me: ‘It doesn’t matter.’

Edward Doegar

Shakeeb Abu Hamdan

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