Shell Poem

appeared in the HOWL OF SORROW Anthology,
poems about New Jersey and Hurricane Sandy, 2015

A wall of water shatters,
drives it into the rocks, sandblasted and
pummeled into a tunneled crevice —
dunes thrashed, flattened,
thorny, briared roses and goldenrod whipped,
roots tortured and torn, Sandy’s wind pounding
the boards, scouring the coast’s hemline until —
months later, a surge lifts the shell
like a feather
delivers it into the hands of children who

Pick it up and use it as a hearing aid,
stick it on their toe, a bunion,
put it in their basket – a gourd, enchanted
egg, the king’s golden coins.

But wait!  Chalk-white like
rolled up dough, a
mini-tornado at its hard, nippled breast:
Inside the secret waits.

From high above
gulls plunge like paper kites, cranky
white-winged storm,
basket dropped, children fleeing –

The old crone gulps sweetmeat,
drops the shell, children’s treasure restored,
icing on a Bundt cake.
Spendthrift, unaccountable,
the queen’s earthly ransom paid.