Person’s Ocean

PERSON’S OCEAN BY NATALIE SHAPERO

Close enough I have come

to a gull on the beach to glimpse

its pencil-yellow feet, burnished

with black like the rail

in the firehouse. Close enough

I have come to see how

the conch is not my spirit

shell; the conch is truly me, hey

stupid pink turned-in thing thrown

away by the water and bearing

the water’s noises. Close

up to a person, you always can

hear the ocean, but it is a person’s

ocean: not the lisping of tides,

but the gnash of the boat

wreck, drag of the purse seine,

ping of the black box, muteness

of the oil-undone bird.

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