She plucks the shells gingerly
From a bed of sand they have laid upon,
Languishing in the sun
The way the young girls nearby do,
Un-scarred in their giggles and skin,
Cabana-fresh in their Banana Boat lotion
and rainbow-row of umbrellas.
One by one, she pulls out
The eyes of the ocean,
The shack of the crab,
The call of jelly fish to bare feet,
Noticing how each one
Resembles a vacant cave,
The empty space of a spent bullet,
The moon absent his one-man show.
Her lover has gone,
No ring of the hotel telephone,
No chipper voice to accommodate
Of a green-tree tourists' room
She will not return to until
the birds withdraw their white feathers
and this solitaire world
of the roiling sea turns violet
beneath the gray-cloud sky.
For now she becomes the atmosphere,
Void of life, immobile of memory,
A character plucking sea shells
In a strangers photograph.