Semibalanus balanoides

Entangled on this rocky shore our feet crisscross paths that lead to lips of sea we are watched by countless barnacles shields closed in the salty air underwater their cirri bloom and comb for particles tremble in the mechanics of microscopy organs perfectly arranged on a spread of rocks the bigger whiter ones are hard to find the treat of dogwhelks harpooners of the shore when the water cools we retrace babysteps on this encased bay we knew nothing of nature all these carpets could have been lichen or rock or nothing grandmother crochets intricate tablecloths patterns hold together our twilight she weaves winter into stale-smelling albums where photo corners lost their contents brown rolls of film coiled into white plastic time capsules at the back of a drawer in a disused room I am forbidden to touch them unraveled against light distant relatives parade their intimacy family holidays by the mud-coloured sea the sand bleached without particles or definition in dusk light we are sepia too the vista loses its vibrancy barnacles dissolve into a mass spread like sheets of crochet on the rocks our feet and hands interlaced with landscape there is a sense of urgency in the water barnacles feel the return their cirri swell inside in anticipation hardly any white ones this far north they have disappeared in the intricacies of a pale green coating perhaps we too should blend in bear the marks of something gone contained in the visceral depths of a drawer where men and women more or less clothed pretend they are related to us grandmother’s crochet tablecloths have large circular patterns of sea oak sea lettuce and family trees but the cold water barnacles should outnumber the rest

Vera Fibisan