Sunlight on Water
by Denis Doran
Sunlight on water, smoke drifting across the shingle, the smell of lighter fuel and scorching flesh. Small groups gather to drink, talk. People walk along the shoreline. Others sit gazing at the sea.
Gulls gather; they do too. Some talk, others wait, huddled, isolated. Same weathered skin burnt by the sun; a life in the open. One man squats cradling his head. They’ll wait until the old white van appears with hot drinks and sandwiches.
Further along the promenade a bin bag rests, waiting for collection. He picks it up, shakes it, unties the knot, rummages, finds nothing, lets the bag settle. A seagull lands, tears at the opened neck, emptying the contents onto the pavement, rummages, finds the remnants of a sandwich. A couple walking along the promenade stop, watch.
Walking back I find myself stopping, standing, staring at the sea, at sunlight on water.