Driftwood Atlas

Here by the muddy sea, I, a woman, wait
tides passing quiet between two fingers
on bitter silent sands—

Drenched, a gasp,
I ripped you once in a moment from the sea.
Chest like beaten, hammered gold, you
glittered, under waves
with feet of clay.

A sculptor gentle, I took your stone in my arms
lulling knife to grain.
Close as flesh, my atlas, wishbone
dear as a death to me.

How we raced in that stillborn dawn!
How we held our colors proud
like little sparrow wings.

Still sand and salt turned blade at last
like any wood
bleaching and brittle in the sun.

Silt beneath my nails,
I reached—

But the grey sea broke against me
and took gently
what I could not keep.