Child of the Wandering Sea
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
–Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Chambered Nautilus
At the corner of Alta and Sunflower street signs hum
like conch shells in sagey wind. The last water receded
an eon ago: runs deep beneath your feet if at all.
The sound sings your first trip west, whipping over desert
in a silver bus. Shells along shelves in shops at Fisherman’s Wharf.
You held pink rims to your ear understanding then the nautilus
your teacher silenced without definition. Didn’t he know
a poem’s tones seep through pages when pressure builds?
You returned after seafaring to the desert wind,
wind like the ocean’s. The shacks are
sinking beam by board into brown sand:
a flag pole clanks in a wide lot:
air pulls forth what was forgotten.