much like a hermit crab

wyeth her room detail

she enters backward…
much like a hermit crab entrances
a vacant shell encumbered…though
she not with balance angling claws

instead, she drags luggage through the door,
opens window sashes to wash sea brine air
and distant breaker thrash into quiet rooms
of her one week hideaway

eases by degree from the tangled tiny things
of her city life into linear big thing simple of a
sea horizon…and shelves stocked with olives,
coffee…bread…a tin of biscuits…apples…cheese

while at night the bareness of unpainted walls
soothes her to uncluttered drifting dreams,
and day’s cool warm cool ritual comes unseamed
for her knowing when to wake and stretch and
walk the beach, eat and sleep

she hums a descant to wind chimes
answering a breeze,
and strokes the yellow cat
slumming on her porch,
and ventures with Homer and Odysseus
away from…home to Ithaca
until primed…renewed with wanderlust
she closes windows, gathers encumbrances
exits backward from the growing space


Bonnie Marshall

Artwork by Andrew Wyeth
“Her Room” (detail) 1963

16 thoughts on “much like a hermit crab

      1. And much else besides; you help me to remember how the world actually works for people; there is such a there-and-back-again journey here, so well expressed, so skilfully compressed.

    1. Private retreats are important in my life, John, so I enjoyed writing about such occasions…although…thinking…most poems I write are getaways for me of
      a sort. Smiles and thank you.

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