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January 01st 2008 print

Jennifer Compton

Beachcombing

I coveted the pretty ornament. Like a child
I wanted the sweet colours, the crimps, the curls.
I wanted it for no reason, or for no good reason.

I was walking among the detritus when the market closed.
The coathangers were driftwood, the defeated, lonely shoe
stranded by the tide, billowing newspapers yards of airy kelp

as if the sea had taken the city and retreated,
my esoteric and lonely game. And there it is,
the enchanted shell, the pretty thing. Mine.

Jennifer Compton