and glutinous, mineral pinks and whites,
the flesh-fat fish lie in tribes on their beds of ice,
gifts of alien and endlessly refreshing seas.
Wild salmon glittering, and sprats like stainless bay leaves;
knobbly fruit of scallop, and the flaccid whiting,
soft and grey as tin; coral slabs of skate wing,
the thigh-thick halibut, and flounder flower-dotted turvesÉ
and troubled city air reverberates
into the narrow distance. From lobsters to plaice
to purple-bloomed and milky squid we inch past patiently,
becalmed in the bustle by their chill potency.
Wounded knights, the magnificent armed crustaceans
rise, then fold a jointed feeler in submission.
Underneath, the blood-pinked frost glistens and grieves.
who weigh this split silver
are brisk and full of savour as the sea itself.
Levantines, Chinese, Greeks and West Indians
queue for what we have in common,
salt of the multiplying ocean.