PHILIP RICE

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My soul is a conch shell

(for Bronwen)

My soul is a conch shell
very near the ocean where she
beats the dust out of her blue
tablecloth
endlessly against
the shore where lately little
creatures come and live there

one by one they come,
living
creatures and dying in twirling motions
with polished flesh-colored
chambers upon chambers folded—
here and there they come to live
and they also die
one after another
while that very-near ocean
wears down—with endlessly
dust my (sun-burnished) spirit
within which you can hear
the ocean
spiraling.