After a season of floods, we amble down
Hatteras beach toward the lighthouse
we will not reach today,
sated with the quick exchange
of laughter or easy quiet friendship relishes.
We pocket bits of fire, sky and night:
lions paws, queens, calico scallops,
God’s litter of sea jewels
and abandoned abodes.
Sandy, Rochelle and I are seashell snobs
and seashore griots who speak to passersby,
egrets, gulls, Wyeth’s grey-eyed dogs,
fishermen, whitebaby’s ears and jack knifes.
When did the mudsnail leave its fate
to the whim of wind and tide?
This one’s the color of lightning
That one’s haint blue
Over there is Sandy’s sienna.
Our talk, a common jingle
in the Atlantic wash,
all while the sea casts up
the stuff of earth’s watery keeping.
Our pockets heavy,
our hearts warm with light,
we sing songs out of the clear blue
the ones that got us through—
“I don’t believe He brought me this far
to leave me.”
True tulip, Atlantic coquina, heart sea bean—
Rochelle, take this yellow cowrie,
American cousin of Ifa’s divining tool.
Horse conch, Atlantic cockle, urchin, auger—
After a season of bad news
we amble toward the lighthouse,
seashell snobs, seashore griots,
wintergreen sisters and keepers.