For Fifteen Abalone

 

My Pacific litters debris upon a windy beach
where I scry for chance of incidental grace
of a foulish lump of black white ambergris
or a bottle message from some far off place.

I watch children plunder tidal pools,
watch them pocket sandy bi-valves…stones
‘till their pockets sag and mothers warn them
to beware of seal-ed test tubes…stray syringes.

Here, I sense no sermons in a Chambered Nautilus
nor a sea polished globe from a trawler’s float,
nor do I find significance in gray twisted wood.

Though, over years I’ve nailed upon my redwood fence
fifteen barnacled and radiant shells of abalone.
Some are cast off from the divers seeking flesh.
Some are ones to which the otters beat them.

Perhaps I augur with a magic fifteen square
or with aquatic hex signs ward off demons;
I think none of this, for they simply please me.

Now, however, I am angry pensive restless
as my best five have overnight gone missing;
I should check the neighbors’ lawns,
post a notice…inspect the market stalls.

Though, I’ll do none of this.  No.
Yet I wonder why I prize sea dregs
And I wonder why I should wonder why at all.

 

Bonnie Marshall

Artist: Derek Bond

 

 

2 thoughts on “For Fifteen Abalone

  1. The childhood enchantment of collecting what nature has left behind, because children grasp the wonder of what is free and what is natural. This poem brought back memories of summers on the New Jersey coast, collecting shells and glass and seaweed and starfish – oh the poor starfish who gave their lives for my curiosity and conviction I could keep them alive. Even now, sea shells fill my shelves. Perhaps the five were captured in the rolled up tee shirt of a little child who wanted to see the loveliness at her own home. Lovely poem, Bonnie.

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