Winter mornings on the dock were shutter down winds and squalling stone curlews seized to sheets of ice. They were hoarse prayers of thawing. At the gutting stalls offal curled frozen off the ground, poised like bloody vipers charmed from the bellies of abandoned fish. Eel heads, eyeball white and egg shell brittle. Shark fins gone sharp as glass, littered around, glittering with frost, looking like the slivers of some immense, unthinkable vase that had been hauled up in a fishing net by mistake and broken on landing though once it had stood on the deepest ocean floor and hummed soprano to the current and was a home to the blind crabs and lonely clubhook squid and animals would swim across a hemisphere to visit it and it was at the beginning and end of every story whenever a story was told about the sea and everyone said that if it was ever broken then the truth in everything would become obvious, boring even, though when it was broken all that emerged was a staggering, air drunk giant isopod who crawled up the steps to the harbour master's office and died rolled up under his desk.

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