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Poems

In the Salt Marsh: Poems (2004)

Choosing a Stone

The tide pulls back, leaving its cargo of stones
on the broad counter of sand.
A boy takes only black stones halved with a white thread,
like a parcel too private to open.
His mother gathers stones that mimic food:
two quartz eggs and a granite potato
and a loaf of bread with a cold crust.
This man hunts the white stones
smooth as unblemished fruit
made, he feels, for his hand alone.
He picks one up, fingers a hairline crack,
throws it back. This woman saves stones
on the verge of extinction. Thin as a catfs ear,
they shine like coins rubbed faceless
for luck, for safe crossing.