The sea is a red roll of drums
this autumn morning:

sun like a damson in a thin vanilla sky.
There is a child

foraging through the dunes, and a contralto
breeze whips the waves

into miniature piques, into cartoon teeth.
Horizon like a faint, uneven

smudge of line. The sound is down.
Every grain of sand is a nugget,

a speechless signal. Treasure.
The child has a scrap of map - parchment -

a whey-coloured talisman, covered in emblems,
signs, cedillas, approximate crosses.

When he finds the bottle, he whoops:
he holds it to his mouth, and hollers.

There is a seagull tying knots in the air
above his blazing head,

and, when he pops the cork,
he hears the red, red thunder of the drums.

From Looks Familiar


for jane siberry