Among the cobbles of a shingle beach,
one thumb-sized stone draws
your beachcomber’s eye, too pure a blue
to be granite, opaque but somehow
A wave clatters up & wets
your ankles. You grab for the stone,
now glistening—clearly glass
& once a shard, despite the loss
of all sharp edges &
its transformation from fragment
to a whole small world.
It has turned & turned in the bay’s
watery gullet, that precipitous gizzard
full of ersatz teeth.
What smaller, softer things
has it ground down as it spun?
It dries in your hand now & the light
goes out of it. Eager to show the children,
you pop it in your mouth
& it is a gem again while the saliva lasts.
It rides home in your pocket,
a hard candy that never melts
& takes days to lose
its taste of salted sun.
Prompted by this conversation.
See the response by Rachel Rawlins, “Shoulder.”