Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fossil Beach

by Joe Cottonwood

Take off your shoes, walk with me.
We’ll squish our toes. Miles it goes,
the busy beach brimming with tiny crabs
until we reach — here, this outcrop:
from salty pools you can pluck
dead souls reborn as rock, washed by tides
just as they bathed so long ago
smacking their clammy lips,
wafting a seaside scent
not unlike spilled beer.

We humans still seek contentment.
Here it has lain millions of years.

This fossil, bivalve,
from time before meadowlarks,
before Neanderthal, before waltz
in the shape of a harp roughhewn,
plays a melody murky, out of tune.
Wizened she is.
Surface ribs roll. Feel the deep chuckle.
How dense in your fingers,
how nicely she fits against your palm.
From the sand she shakes your hand!
Greetings from the Paleozoic tavern,
surfin’ oldies on the jukebox.

Some day, may you and I
jolly in our bones
return as stones.

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