Behind the houses the river slides away all night. Buttery and resinous, the air hangs heavy with the river murk, the wet stink of the mudbank. Across the water, the railway sidings with their abandoned boxcars lie quiet, generations of graffiti hiding whatever colour they may have been. Beyond, the ibises stalk the salt flats, reeking brackish plains filled with seawater gone soupy, which the sea breeze blows across, filling the town with smell of rotting kelp. And then, last, the sea itself, tin-grey and wallowing, thick and cold like old blood. Between the flats and the water the smooth sand stretches a kilometre or more, and here the ships lie, the metal of their broken hulls slowly being eaten by the salt air. The sky above is the colour of ocean, the horizon gone. A flock of cormorants punctuates the grey, oily wings stretched black, hanging themselves in the wind to dry. All around the rusting hulks sit silent, unmoving.