i shall meet a bygone shell just past a cliff beyond the scourged pacific,
and her opaline claws will press deep in my flesh. swollen, choleric.
she’ll dig at my dermal ridges, flashing in the waning light,
strip, strip, stripping till she hits the back of my nail,
just in time to upturn her lack of face and frown
a deep, unforgiving droop of her ridges,
letting her crescent shoulders curve against the moon and
chide me with her silence, insisting that this citrus balm
pooling in my finger-turned-bowl is life and life’s gift.
i will leave her carcass, shell, on an overturned canoe,
and she’ll dull in the waning light, for my lifebalm is life.
with my vertebral ridges curving against the moon,
i’ll cross-stitch my hand without moonlight
because she’ll have taught me strands of it won’t hold.
no, my eyes will drip down, down, drowning in my finger-turned-bowl to watch.
the watching, the act and circumstance, is what will stitch it shut, though half so.
and the meeting, the act and circumstance, is what will stick to my hems.
she’ll watch me go in silence, trailing citrus all the way home.
i’ll whisper my thank-you’s to the earth,
the moon’s glare on my curving spine as i bend
down, down, drowning in the life rushing to my head.
when life gives you lemons / she sells seashells by the seashore /