“Cowrie” by Jay Whittaker

The size, colour
of my pinky fingernail
serrated lips punctuated
by one speck of shell
if my fingers
were small enough
to prise it open
flick with my tongue-tip
till taut lips
loosen, open wide
tease, spell out its name
until the bottoming shudder
splits rocks to a cirrus sky.


Edinburgh-based Jay Whittaker’s debut poetry collection, Wristwatch, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2017.  She writes about transition, resilience, grief, breast cancer, and LGBT+ lives (including her own). Her poems have been published in a wide range of magazines and she enjoys performing on the Edinburgh spoken word scene. www.jaywhittaker.uk