Today's poem is by Joan Colby


Broken conch whitened and drilled with tiny holes
resembling a computer printout, crenelations softened
to multiple breasts with recessed nipples. Inside: a cone
circling secrets filled with grit, cyclone funnel,
witchlike, hill of warrior ants.

What lived here was soft and exudant, irresistible. It swam
penetrating clamshells and sucking. Its glutinous foot
clung fast. The boatman ripped with a curved hook
and we chopped it rubbery with onion, peppers, and spices.

Tomb of my hand. Witness of the old kiss of the sea
that mouths salt air forever trusting the ocean's persistent caress
to round and pearl its wound, to cast it artlessly
for someone like me to discover.

What use is a broken shell? Collectors prefer perfection,
dreamers admire the polish of souvenirs, and children
want everything to be total.

Altered nation. Ruined colony worn to a white nub.
Markings no one now living can comprehend.
Calcified heart, boat stranded, its ribs strumming the wind,
a skull planted on the flag of night.

Battered moon.
Abused sea-wife.
Lonely one.

Copyright © 2009 Joan Colby All rights reserved
from Gargoyle
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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