Gather the Shells
Let us walk the beach and gather our shells.
The child fills the pail with all the pretty ones, shiny and perfected.
I offer the broken, the notched, the dulled;
The fragments of bones the seas have rejected.
We won’t be able to take them all home.
So we sift through our pile of limestone;
Some of yours, a few of mine,
Rinse the sand and brine.
We choose the shells to keep,
The ones to use for the stories we must tell,
Like words, etched into the gray stones
Planted in the ground to mark our resting bones.