Dawn on the North Bay beach this morning.
The turning tide along its damp margin
Reveals a shard of glass washed by the
Oceans a year or more.
Polished by the waters and the sands
No sharp edges now on this broken bottle base
Where a letter remains raised, blurred, burred
On this smooth surface.
Its transparency gone, made translucent by
Myriads of small indistinguishable scratches.
Held before the eye, eastwards towards the
Horizon-lifting sun, the shimmering sea and the
Crinkling white horses racing in are transmuted from their
Everyday wonder to something even more magical.
A Piece of Glass, by David Eade
As she slid into the passenger seat of Jackie’s 1993 Rover Metro, Mel felt as though she’d only spent a few minutes at the beach rather than a full hour. She was already exhausted from school, and her shift at the café hadn’t even begun yet. Was that all life was? Working to the point of exhaustion until you got old and couldn’t work anymore?
“We’re going to be late,” said Mel.
“Not if I’m driving,” said Jackie, tossing her silky, auburn hair over her shoulder and shifting into first gear.
The Metro shuddered forward with a loud grinding of gears, and Mel groaned as Jackie hit a pothole dead-on. Faded green and patched with rust, the poor Metro had sat unloved and uncared for in Jackie’s grandad’s garage for years before Jackie reclaimed it. Mel was convinced that the car was hanging on to life by grit alone.
“How’s your day been, Mel?” asked Jackie.
“Swell indeed, I didn’t have a single class today, so I spent all morning hanging out with Roger. We went to the park and played football, but I think he let me win on purpose. He asked if he could be in one of my TikTok videos, too. He’s just so handsome, I wanna kiss his face all the time–”
“Aye, he’s fair to look at,” said Mel, cringing again as Jackie bumped a curb.
Jackie laughed. “Oh come off it, Mel, I know you don’t like him.”
“I like him fair enough.”
“It’s alright, luv, you don’t have to like him. It’s not like we’re serious or anything. We’re going to break up when we go to Uni anyway, that’s what always happens.”
Her voice was confident but her eyes were uncertain. She changed the subject. “Did you see anything cool at the beach today?” Jackie asked.
“Just some birds.”
Illustration by: Suzy Sharpe (https://www.suzysharpeartist.com)
They drove down Coast Road in silence for a while. Jackie surveyed a group of footballers as they passed Gypsies Green. Mel gazed out at the wide expanse of grass that led back to the sea.
They turned into the parking lot of Schooner or Later Café, gears grinding once again. Jackie scrubbed off her crimson lipstick and threw on her black work uniform over her Led Zeppelin t-shirt, smoothing the rough fabric over her wide belly. Mel brushed the sand from her own uniform. The girls hurried in through the side door, only to catch a scornful look from Mel’s sister Lisa, who tapped imperiously at her watch from her coveted position behind the bar.
“Remind me again why we decided to work at the same place as your sister?” Jackie muttered.
“Something about ‘we needed cash and she said she could get us jobs here’.”
“Clearly a trap from the start. She didn’t tell us we’d be washing dishes,” said Jackie. She slid a sideways glance at Mel. “We’d better keep an eye on her. She’s a sly one, that sister of yours.”
Author’s Note: Schooner or Later is a fictional café.
About the author: Ella Shively is an undergraduate studying natural resources and writing at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, USA. You can find her online at
About this chapter's featured poet: David was born in Scarborough. Both his grandfathers were fishermen, one a skipper of steam trawlers fishing the Dogger Bank, the other an inshore coble man. His father was the youngest of seventeen and though he did not become a fisherman all his older brothers and cousins went to sea. In the First World War One of David’s uncles was on trawlers that were sunk three times by the same U boat. One of David’s relatives currently volunteers to serve on the Scarborough lifeboat.
About this chapter's illustrator: With her work, Suzy explores the way in which humans and non humans experience the world in order to raise a question in the mind of the viewer and to create work which reflects a thoughtful and considered engagement with the natural world and the broader landscape. She says: “The best purpose for my work would be to bring meaning to the lives of the people who view it and encourage them to show respect, compassion and ultimately protect the non human beings with whom we share the planet.”