Beachcombing at Night

I find a broken compass
behind his right ear,
two Euros behind his left,
bent spoons in each armpit,
AA batteries behind both
of his knees. He hands me
a torch, nothing happens
when I flick the switch.

‘Ah!’ I swap the batteries
for the ones from his knees,
but they only make this dim,
flickering light.


Dean Atta’s debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His novel in verse, The Black Flamingo, won the 2020 Stonewall Book Award. Website: / Twitter: @deanatta / Instagram: @deanatta