Afterward, the roiled
detritus washes up for days, shifting but always stuck in the littoral zone’s
back and forth. No one owns
it and no one can really take it away; it has foiled
efforts and it always will. But it does change. Small things accrue
meaning in their accumulation; sharp things do
lose edge to agitation,
the tide recedes across a field of calcium
and vitreous glitter. And plastic means flexible, ductile, and some
say it’s safer that way, or so I’ve heard.
I admit it: I still fail
At being happy enough, though I know what the litter becomes when the tide’s been at it.
When it’s washed and lit
the wreckage can seem like treasure. Thrust a hand in and pull it back bleeding, fist full
of sea glass. I don’t want to sift
through all that any more, it’s only cutting words, and after words
empty shells even the birds
know better than to linger over. They were liars, whoever said a long memory was a gift.