Thursday, April 13, 2006

Strange pearls

The earth spills
strange pearls
from a jumbled bed
in the cutbank
where an oxbow bend
of a parching river
carves yellow gray clay.
A careful eye can find
instead of predictable
gray and dun boulders
a half uncovered barrow
of spiral stone ammonites
chalky white shells
turned inside out by ages
clad in thin patches
of iridescent nacre
each heavy and large
in my curious dusty hands
shining dully surprised
by a day's light
for the first time
since they died
and spiralled, settling
three or four hundred
million years past
to the bottom of
this Devonian desert,
and were covered
by eddying silt
on the dark floor
of an ocean swirling
under a far younger sun
one of an endless many
that have become to me,
when I look up
from my own short
shift at life,
night stars shining
in spiral rivers
flowing through
endless spiral seas.

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