Lugging a sordid shoal of plastic
we catch the top of the tide to the bridge,
me bailing, Bill rowing,
me pirating, Bill holding the boat,
both of us talking to the seals.
We unload sacks, fish-boxes,
broken buckets, ropes, nets, pipes, bottles,
a mountain of jetsam.
Wherever they think it will go,
the people who throw it,
it comes here, riding the waves,
corralled by currents, ushered in
by prevailing winds, until it finds
a tangle of seaweed to clutch,
somewhere to become entwined,
as if desperate to return to land,
to end its restless, deathless journey.
You did not throw it there.
We cannot take it there.
There is no such place as away.
Mandy Haggith lives in Assynt, northwest Scotland, and teaches Creative Writing at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Her books include four poetry collections (letting light in, Castings, A-B-Tree, Why the Sky is Far Away), a poetry anthology (Into the Forest), a non-fiction book (Paper Trails) and five novels: The Last Bear, Bear Witness and a novel trilogy set in the Iron Age, The Walrus Mutterer, The Amber Seeker and The Lyre Dancers. www.mandyhaggith.net