The Shell Shop
Waves are sold here,
Summer days under a burning sun.
Search through the bins
For time lost and misplaced memories.
It doesn't matter if the shells
Have come from far away,
Coral from an unknown reef,
Snails in neon, unnatural hues,
Sea stars frozen in a lifeless stretch.
Buy an ocean that fits in the palm
Of your hand, press it to your ear,
Close your eyes to see.
not the sky,
but the startle of wings
that wakes the sky
or the color of the moon
left to linger long after
the night has gone
no deeper blue
than words unsaid
that settle like stones
in the well of memory
not true, but shifting
like the falsely painted sea
From the bottom of the hill
I see the faded red lobster
wreathed with Christmas lights.
We pull into the gravel driveway,
into boats and bikes and gray shingles.
I wait in the car
while you go to the door.
A woman in a white apron
and black boots up to her knees answers.
You talk and she comes out
to sit on the step.
I can no longer see you,
hidden behind the garage
where the condemned lobsters linger.
But I see the woman,
the wind moves her hair
and she smiles
Debbie Howard is a teacher of English as a Second Language. She
has had poems published in journals including The Connecticut River Review and The Ballard
Street Poetry Journal. She also wrote the lyrics for the town anthem
for Manchester, CT. She lives in Manchester with her husband and two