Shelley seeks seashells,
shifts through the surf.
In the shallows, lips compressed
against swallowing salt, again and
again, she stands still
(wave breaking) stubborn pull of
sinking sticking in her mind.
Shelley is sure in her search.
She has stylized a system,
synchronized with the sea's strain,
shedding haste for patience
during its onslaughts
and snatching, grasping for surfaces
on its slight regression.
Her score is as seemly as these:
shell's as segments of life evacuated,
exhausted flesh, escaped.
Shelley has the skulls, the skeleton,
the scenes of structure and safe haven.
All she has are surfaces,
scraped or scrapping,
scarcely scratched (evidence erased).
She finds them smooth,
or with seams, slender, never strict.
Their smoothness makes her fingers coarse
(unless that's the sea, desensitizing,
stealing smell, touch, equilibrium).
The shells convey no sensitivity
to this possibility, they are selfish
they were shaped in another cycle,
they soothed themselves with
a succession of synthesizing,
building estranged structures.
Sometimes there are spirals.
Shelley sells her seashells
on the seashore:
a forced separation, as she sees it,
spanning resorting to selling-out.
Her collection, momentous, forever
incomplete. She does not see the irony,
selling shells short spans from their source,
and whether the shells leave her home
by her own hands,
or by strangers selecting them
with no strict understanding of selection,
Shelley makes no movements