by Chris Buchanan
She scraped the chippie box off her blue jeans,
squeaked the plastic fork from the polystyrene,
dotted the sea air with vinegar and steam
and parted the batter, slid it off like frogskin.
The antiseptic smell of exposed, white, hot fish
was everywhere along the pier. Haircuts began to itch
as the scents lifted. My neck went greasy and stiff
and she smiled cleanly, nodded past my face:
a seagull trod air behind my shoulder, impatient
with a slate-hard, orange, downturned bill waiting
for its moment. I was close to its eye.
I almost kissed the bird in fight or flight but then
with a sharp splash and a salt mist the girl was gone.