Beachcomber’s Faith


A broken shell is not less beautiful

For you can peer past the scrolled stairway

To curved walls scrawled by uncut nails of tiny sea-lice imprisoned within

And at operculum’s dismal mirror: a reaching-armed princess.

Your eyes can spring a cradled web betwixt

Pillars that press flowered dome away from sacred floor

Of sand dollar’s temple, and jump down the gullet

Of perfect circular blackness: a pupil lashed with petals.


Thus convinced, can I stretch your mind to agree

that a sun-slash-bleeding August is not less beautiful

than a virgin-blue-skied June

in her way,

and that a kiss farewell is sweeter for the sting?


Image credits in order of appearance:

“The conchological illustrations or, Coloured figures of all the hitherto unfigured recent shells.” By Sowerby, G. B. –, Public Domain,

“Bouguereau – The shell.” By William-Adolphe Bouguereau – Unknown, Public Domain,


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