Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Shell Game, Part 2

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This afternoon I will drive to the beach and return my seashells to their home, at the sugestion of both Kerry (my daughter) and Enrique (my consultant on all things Floridian and Cuban).

I felt the ceremony should be commemorated with a poem, and I thank Enrique for the thought prompts he sent me ("protectors of life, a place for little creatures to live, protector of treasures, protects the soft parts of an animal, going back to the way they will be sand, to rest in peace") even if his response to my poem's first draft was "R u getting soft?"

I wrote this in the shade of the awning of my new little rolling home, my Miami carapace. If I am getting soft--and it may be true--at least I have more protection for the most vulnerable parts of me than I did when I first began picking up seashells, in 1982.

      They will be sand, and rest in peace

A handful of shells,
empty houses,
spiral protectors of life,
protectors of treasures.

I remember lying on the cold sand
just at dawn,
filling my hands with your tiny cold beauty
never thinking of a little life,
a little treasure,
no longer needing your protection.

Now, with little
life of my own left to protect,
I return to that beach
I return you

to become sand, to rest
to offer rest
to someone else who comes to the beach
seeking protection,
a home.

A man once taught me
about the spiral of life,
the same man who showed me
there is always something
hidden inside.

Life, or
some other treasure.