Alex Aldred


Half-buried in sand, a mess of flesh.
Unidentifiable monster,
refugee of the dark sea floor
who fled the deep to seek the light—
to breach the surface and break,
like the tide, on the beach.

I was stunned by the meat of it,
that waterlogged corpse at my feet;
drifts of blubber foaming the oceantop
like newborn continents, already shifting apart;
bones, cold and soaked and sun-bleached,
feather-edged and fraying like rope.

I think it would be nice to be loved
like that. Not in life—still flooded with blood,
pressed together by pressure and scrubbed
clean of mud, skin dressed tight over innards—
but in that state of decay, washed-up
and carcass-shaped, unrecognisably changed

by the bleak glare of morning:
fat sprawling in the open air,
all asymmetrical tufts of hair,
slack-jaw spit trails and patches scratched raw;
limbs rolling in waves, composure broken,
like the tide, by sleep.

Alex Aldred

lives and writes in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is currently studying towards his PhD in creative writing. He has recently contributed to Vagabonds, Good Works Review, Millennial Pulp, and Delmarva Review.