Shells are the bones of the sea

and that is why you can hear chanting
like ghostly whispers from the other side
undulating against your ear
when you hold a shell up to it.
And salt is the sea’s kiss.
Once you’ve tasted it
you can’t imagine even the simplest joys of life without it.
The moonlight on the sea is heart’s own memory
peeking through ragged clouds and gracing
even Charybdis swells with grace.
You are a metaphor made up of longing
strong enough to pull a tide and raise the dead,
to shake seashell bones and tumble pearls from their tight beds and yet
quietly lap at the edges of my dreams leaving me
to wake with the lessons of salt and mystery
upon my lips. — Annette Marie Smith