Thinking of My Wife as a Child by the Sea, While We Clean Mussels Together

A poem for Sunday

A black-and-white photo of someone cleaning mussels, with someone else's shoes in the photo, in black strappy sandals
Millennium / Gallery Stock

Before prising keel worms off the backs of mussels,
we have to tap them with a knife, when good sense, fear,
life, shuts their lips. I do chop the lemongrass. I do close
the lid. Their bodies inside are soft. It hurts me to do it,
but not for long. We bring the shell-clatter after to the loch
with our dog and son. I love this quiet house by the water
and lighting the fire and imagining my wife as a child
throwing a sweater over her pajamas to cycle with no hands
by the sea. Isn’t it beautiful and terrible to exist inside
time: to already be not there but here then here