Empty Spaces
by Alice Pero

At the beach all my exclamation points
turn upside down
I am caught staring
at the empty spaces sea pulls out of me
I fill myself with discoveries:
a monster mussel, ancient shellfish warrior
clinging to a huge mass of seaweed,
wiggling starfish
and dozens of delicate sand dollars

I am a sea relic addict
I can't stand the silence inside me
I scurry for tiny things
to clutter a mind washed too clean

The bucket fills with oddities:
a haul of clam shells covered in barnacles,
the barnacles wearing sea grass like mole hairs
and broken mussel shells all worn down to nothing,
blackened outer covering gone,
leaving pure mother-of-pearl,
a shining filling me up,
All those old holes mended

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