11. Nova Scotia, the coast blows ...
Nova Scotia, the coast blows
like blown glass, wave
after bottle-green wave breaking—
and here in the one-inch shallows
of a particular stretch of shore,
I search for shells to pull up
from their wet contexts. In water,
the snails gallop in place,
the unbroken jells of their bodies
shuffling in the dim sand
for drowned minutiae. A life
peels from windburned wood;
a death strains from a sunken castle,
the walls held up despite the water.
Atmosphere sizzles in tidewater,
a mirror made of the brave carapace:
dream a flooded shell, a perpendicular
home of salt-muck: glass-lined
orchid, fault line through the oats…
But no. The mollusks bask
in the season’s half-lit hour, begging
through suspension and burial
—I think they love the life. Still,
their shells are so beautiful I can’t
help myself. I shuck the life
from behind the locked door.
A million colors, until they dry,
turning through murder to dull stone.