The Fulmar

Sue Vickerman

That morning, a keen wind sliced
the cake-edge of Scotland and the tide
whisked rocks into shortbread crumbs
and swelled and melted like meringue
as I held your ladder at the lighthouse window.
You tucked and poked into draughts
with a Swiss knife, denim braced
against glass, while blizzard conditions
sugared the cliffs, beat the headland
into peaked egg-whites, made gateau
of the scenery as ducktape unreeled
around our circular rooms, sealing us in.

You saw the fulmar first, thick-set,
steering heavily against the wind.
Like an albatross, I warned. An omen.
You only laughed, loving his bulk;
his lecherous, bull-necked look.
Meanwhile the fire in our hearth, lit
by a small match before breakfast,
roared, unchecked, until it ignited
the chimney; until blue flames
leapt from the top of our tall house
like a pudding flambé, alerting ships
to the treacherous nature of the territory.