by John Grey
In the shell is the scattered cloudand breezes from the ocean,the flap of pelican wing,the stilted dash of sandpipers.
I collect coastlines,white and scalloped,pink and smooth,rinse them free of salt,dry them on sills;boats and bathers,sun and rock,bask in shiny exoskeleton.
My wife adorns the mantlewith ceramic horses, plastic towers,brocaded spoons and china cups.Each is like Aladdin's lampwith the genie of travel inside.
In my father's underwear drawerwere medals, badges, even a bullet casinghe'd smuggled the war home.
Shells, displayed behind glass,arrayed on lace doilies —the small does just enough
to represent the vast.