winter migrants

by Tom Pickard

Read by Emma Rye

a mass of moth-eaten cloud
threadbare and spun across
a bullish moon
an animal wakes
when I walk in winter,
wrapped against
a withering wind,
solitary,
on a Solway flat
winter migrants gather
in long black lines
along a silver sleek
heads held back,
throats
thrust toward
an onshore rush

occasionally cruciform,

static
in a flying wind
as though

in obeisance

to the sea

retracing steps

washed out
by whimpering silt
each tide a season
in the pecking mall

they call as I approach,

an upright spelk
on their shelf,
gathering my notes
and theirs

we scavenge

ahead of our shadows
waiting for what
the tide brings in
or leaves out

purple,

hedged cloud
edged gold
    hung

on silver slates

of sand

diverted

leaps of light
surrender water

risen

from rivulets

roughed

from rage

repealing waves

repeat

a curlew’s

estuary echo

who,

but you
      and the wind’s
wake?