Facing Great Island

Soft waters wash across the wide reach

of shell-strewn tidal shore. Small wonders

urge plodding through sucking mud.


Monstrous and miraculous fellow

creatures wallow in twice-daily stranding,

subject to lunar rule.


Awash, await and abide the ills

that sun, and dogs, and gulls

can do; or become

perhaps a sacrifice to the

oh-so-human pleasure

of naked curiosity.


Plucked as lightly from the sand alive

as remnants left by doomed companions,

read as chapters in a history

unmeasured by time’s rod;

these are ancestors here rudely grasped

by their inquisitive descendants.

Hope for them now lies in their simplicity,

variety and number; features not of each,

but of their kinds and worlds.


Peruse the scripture on an oyster’s shell,

behold the drama in the train of a horseshoe crab.

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