By: Mary Elizabeth Vance
The shell was empty but perfectly shaped
for my fingers to push through, spiraling over
its crests with thumbprints and silence.
Something always filling in: strangers, water;
long after the first move and the fossil.
The coral becomes it. The soil becomes you.
It is the sea and you are Chicago, but now you are New York.
Living, as much as dying, does not resolve; but neither
has a self. There are no wrong answers,
but many lost questions.
The absence of his coat will hang forever by the door.
For every word I tried to consume him with, the nautilus
finds a new shape to inhabit, or begins a new chemistry.
Feeding the salt or feeding on it. Never at the same time.
On the balcony you find sand hidden in the forgotten
places, the beach and its memory gone in you, small and dense
and hard to wash away.
God is everywhere and nowhere
in the atoms and the mind
of one who has been everywhere and nowhere.