Combing

Nothing for your pocket here:
these bricks with sea-smoothed

edges, blocks of terracotta butter
covering the sand. I push at lumps

of grey and black, my boot seeking
the crunch of razor clam. A derelict

factory, reduced to rubble-crumbs
now buffers these unsteady dunes,

heaves them back on unnatural
shoulders, obliterating pebble, shell.

Combing

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What I Like About a Courgette

is not its phallic weight
rolling in my palm or cacti prickle
to its skin. No, what I like
is its slicing. There’s none
of the meanness you get with carrots,
who, once peeled, ask you to push
too hard with the knife, are never sorry
for their unpredictable skips
across a kitchen surface. A courgette
surrenders to the pressure with
just the right amount of give
beneath the blade. Incisions can be slow,
decisive and whether it’s flimsy discs
you want, ready for a garlicky pan
or thicker coins to be nudged
next to aubergine, the courgette will relinquish
a steady stack of slices on the board.
It is the most certain of vegetables,
firm, undemanding, polite.

Courgette

Moorfields Station, Liverpool

Moorfields

Stuck down here,
far from any field or moor,
awaiting the tunnel’s promised
light, I lean towards its dark
and spot coarse grass
sprouting in the track.

Not long before the smell
of heather comes,
and my feet seem to sink a little
into soil. Other passengers
do not move, keep their hands
inside stuffy pockets,

don’t react to this underground
tract turning green.
I resist their swarm
to the approaching clatter,
bend down to touch
the bracken at my shins.

They board and doors
slide closed, moss thick
at the platform’s lip.