Spiny Auger Mother of Pearl

by Mark Fischweicher

The conch shell in the bookcase should just clam up.
Offering me its cheap vacation doesn’t work anymore.

Fluted and polished, the poem secretes a covering
too hard to break,
with all those waves crashing in my ear.
It’s a bloody mess inside.
Bullet shells never removed.
Scalloped edges,
ecto-skeletal thoughts fragile as a Robin’s egg
but not as well painted nor as blue.

You look along the shoreline for just the right one,
ahh . .  . Baloney!
It’s a shell game,
a tide pool covered with sea scum.
Whatever lives here is wind whipped, and storm tossed
and not as sweet as the pastry
shell we dress it up in.

I’m being shelled!
Cowrie limpet mussel cockle whelk.
All painted and carved,
the poem

a shell of what it was,
not worth the wampum.
My earring’s
but a cameo.

But that one on the bookcase came from Dot
She collected seashells. Never sold them by the seashore.
She painted one canvas (maybe two) in her whole life,
so completely blue,
you can see her brush in the waves.

And, in the chambers of it,
I still hear her
babbling away.

Mark Fischweicher has been scratching out poems since junior high school and still hopes they will save the world and help him become a man.