In the hours of the tide’s chill retreat
the bubbler crabs redraw the atlas.

Pearls of sand spread and reach in strands
the length of the beach,
agreeing the coastlines of new continents,
tracking minute deltas and dotted bays,
pricking out the contours
of mountain chains, the bare veins of rivers,
and featureless oceans
on parching, windswept foundations.

Twice daily the sea sweeps
its quick, careless palm over creation.



Read the rest of Overland 239

If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue

Or subscribe and receive
four brilliant issues for a year


Penelope Leyland

Penelope Layland is a Canberra poet. Her most recent book, Things I’ve thought to tell you since I saw you last, was short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize in the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

More by Penelope Leyland ›

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays