Today's poem is by Diane Thiel

Nursery Shellgame

Maps and mazes are my weaknesses.
So many blueprints in the sand
over-lapping—I leave

a trail of crumbs behind me
that are sometimes gobbled up by morning,
washed away, sometimes stolen.

It is hard to find the way back
without the lodestone, the lodestar—
how you wonder what you are.

A handful of blue marbles might do
if we were twelve.
But we are so much more than twelve

and so much less—
our lives so full
of so much emptiness.

So many years spent
following the tracks of other things
that would chew off limbs

to free themselves, knowing
they would never grow back—
not like those many pointed star fish

arrowed in every direction
or the winter crab, trading one shell
for another, out of necessity.

Necessity sent me out to sea
somewhat suddenly—she said to me
Make sure you take a ship with you.

Make sure you do.
Even a swimmer as strong as you
needs a ship sometimes—even you.

Copyright © 2004 Diane Thiel All rights reserved
from The National Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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