Old Shell

What drawer did you come from? What Tupperware container?
What collaged knick-knack or jewelry pendant? From what
glued photograph frame did your fragment brake off?
For what hidden arrangement did you fill a hole, that odd menagerie
of loose change, paper clips, pencil erasers, coupons and keys
awkwardly fitted together like puzzle pieces unclaimed by their
particular puzzles? When did my daughter lose you and my
mindless hand find you tucked into the crevice of a couch or chair,
a cushion she hasn’t sat on for years? What childhood
do you belong to? What memory? On what
beach of my youth did I search for you, the lone souvenir
of an afternoon hunting and watching the seagulls pick the shallows
clean of its most defenseless fish? A miniature crayfish crawls out
from underneath a rock and there you are shimmering next to
his body. I watch how he tries to lift you with his steel blue
pinchers probably searching for his own slice
of meat. He flips you over unto your rippled back and finds
your polished belly empty, moves along, his cumbersome accordion
trailing behind him like windless unplayed keys. I pick you up,
rub your edges against my shirt and hold you out into the afternoon
light. What preyed upon creature once lived within you?
How close did it cling to the bone of your unarmed insides?

Last updated November 14, 2022