BEFORE I HAD AN AUTOMATIC
Dishes are stacking in the sink,
and low tide feels broader now.
Stitching across the shoreline,
the waves don’t rumble the way
they used to
when I slept in the front room
of the stilted house, yellow quilt, sunscreen
sheets, drawers that smelled like Easter.
In the mornings Mimi knocked
on our shared wall and I knocked back.
Sand pooling in the shower drain,
I lost a wine glass, a good one, yesterday
to the crashing layer
cake of bowls
and spoons and serrated knives.
When I collected shells for Mimi
they were thin, black mica she called jingles—
a broken tambourine when I cupped my hands.
Black shells only, no silver fish
variety, no caramelized mussel valves
hiding as mica, and the water rose
higher then, to the boardwalk.
I wish I’d carried the mussels back too,
recycled them in the ruffle of my bathing suit,
and what good spoons they’d make:
catching light in the sink, their abalone insides
reflecting in my cereal.
fiction poetry "fact" photography