Periwinkles

by Adam Wyeth

We skirt the edges
of the cove, scouring
crags at low tide,

combing back seaweed hair
braided with beads.
Up to our ankles

in rockpoolunderworlds,
dark marbledclusters,
olivecoloured jumbos

rise to the top,
blueblack backs
plonk into buckets, squelch

between fingers and thumbs
recoiling into shells
like tiny poems in their hidden worlds.

We lug a brimming bucket
back home and fill a pan,
watch them toil and bubble.

A seatanged steamedwreathe
breathes its last. I fill a bowl
and with a pin open the doors

of their waterworld,
picking out slimy whorls
doused in virgin olive oil,

washed down with white wine,
la petit mort de mer,
a little death at a time.