CREATIVE Robert Minhinnick

NWR Issue 101


A night of fat stars.

The sky full of blister packs.

Just like the sea. There are times when the sea’s as clean as I can remember. Others when it tries to spew everything out of itself. I could build a city from the plastic I kick through at the caves. A million sandwiches still in their packaging. Thousands of planks, six months, twenty years in the water, and yet I smell the forest. Those jewels of resin.

Zigmas drowned. That’s what they said. Even before the deluge and the biggest waves. He could have escaped like the rest but he ran to the ghost train and hid in a carriage on the rail. In the dark.

He was one of the Lits, we all knew, from somewhere in the south of that country. Not the Baltic, where people would have understood the ocean.

Someone said Zigmas had never seen the sea before he arrived at the fairground. He told people his father was a mushroom seller. It seems he thought he might have been safe. But in the ghost train? What can you say about people like that? There was also a girl drowned in the subway, under the school mural. You know, I think they get what they deserve. Why should I worry about those simple kids?

Breathing. That’s what I can hear. The stone, breathing. It’s what I’ve always heard in Pink Bay. No, not the sea sighing, because sometimes the tide is far away. But in this place, where the limestone meets the sandstone, the red bleeds into the grey, I can hear the stone itself. Its ancient exhalation.

I didn’t think like that as a child. It’s something I’ve gradually learned I’m able to do. If I pay enough attention. Because that’s something I’m good at. Paying attention. Yes, if I listen long enough I hear the sound of stone breathing.

But there are so many voices we never hear. Because we’ve forgotten how to listen. I mean really listen. Which is what I do when I come here...

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