After the storm,
pieces of terracotta
washed up on the shore,
cast off from some
ill-fated freighter or
dashed-to-bits potter’s shop.

We walked along the sand,
picked them up in handfuls
and tried to imagine
what shapes
they might have had
before they were broken.

Vases or bowls
or ancient statues
of a Chinese emperor’s

Whatever, they are broken
now and they have become
something else entirely.

Detritus, but beautiful
among the glistening seaweed
and the water and the sand.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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