Seaside Gothic

Fiction | Poetry | Nonfiction

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Nayland Rock

Nayland Rock by Setareh Ebrahimi

Disused Victorian hotel
with a 1950s or 60s asbestos extension.
That’s the dining room,
I went through there
and it’s a beautiful view of the sea.

The proprietor seems to be an old lady
with no guests, a dog and a little girl,
the manager a pretension
come to gentrify the town.
There are faux Havisham plastic flowers,
too many large photos
of someone’s yellowing wedding.

Outside daisies and buttercups
are scattered like birdseed,
the sunset is a neon egg
cracked in the sky.

She cried, so you took her down
to the ocean where she settled
for rocks and clumps of sand.
My beloved ants.

There is a bird in a cage
in the hallway.

Blown panes
with nests next to those intact
jar the boundary between inside and out.

Poetry will take us to strange places,
people I didn’t necessarily like
as I read a staggered text
that sounded like the nonsense writing
of the woodland creatures
during the Red Queen’s trial.

A few people watched and asked
polite questions.

I feel fragile,
like my spine is a stick in the wind.

Police sirens wail outside.