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.