a dead boy on a beach by Glyn Edwards

The boy’s trousers have been taken down,

screwed low upon his pumps.  A ragged t-shirt

has been tugged up over his nipples, over his head.

His stomach billows at the belly button,

It bloats as wet as a sail filled with waves,

like he has drunk seawater greedily.

Then the arch aches away


into gaunt hipbones, a gaping groin.

He is seven, eight perhaps; his underpants

have deflated footballs on them.

They have been sculpted back onto his dead frame,

mercifully. Though below this nappy,

his pinched knees seem brittle,

too insubstantial, almost, to have been born at all,


The wrinkled fist his hand had formed

is more fin than claw, he is barely there,

translucent, disappearing already,

laid out on the thinnest skin of tide,

quieter than the sand and wet with death,

waiting to be lulled back into the sea

and forgotten.