You speak from this edge and colour the impossible grey,
who for once, holds its breath as you dare to be
so yellow and small, smaller and more yellow
than anything to ever find this shore. In the eye
of your whorl I see them slipping, picking cockles
at night, fighting the tide. Not of this sea but that one,
though I don't know how or why they map a difference.
It's all salt. There is a delicacy and a hardness to shell,
as slight and hollow as the moment you hear the words
illegal immigrant missing change to human skull found.
Periwinkle was written for the 2016 Newcastle Poetry Festival. It appeared in Northern Landscapes, an Ex Libris Gallery installation in collaboration with Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts and the Bloodaxe Archive.
Jo was born in Darlington and now lives in North Shields. She is a PhD candidate at Newcastle University, where she is currently writing a poetry collection in response to the tail-piece prints of wood engraver Thomas Bewick. The study was awarded a Northern Bridge studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
She is currently Poet in Residence at The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead and co-edits both the biannual poetry magazine Butcher's Dog and Multiples, the journal of The Society of Wood Engravers. In 2012 Jo became the recipient of a Northern Promise Award from New Writing North.
Find Jo on Twitter as @_dodo.
Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.
Periwinkle © 2017 Joanne Clement: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.