Where the water is brackish,
not one thing nor another—the émigré’s curse—
neither salt nor fresh, but varnish
clear, these low-tide pools, embossed
with knotted snails or spider crabs,
the opal gleam of bivalves,
a flattened shell like the ear-bone of a fish.
How I came to you: first love
convinced a girl to leave her woods,
her checkered fields, and cross a globe.
Why I stayed: a white cove
on a creamy strand of pearls—
Parsley Bay, Milk Beach,
You are my ocean—
blue cocktail of salt and sediment—
but you are not my leaf.
like the acorned trees I know,
coastal rosemary doesn’t grow
along my memory banks,
and I dare not pluck your candy bells
of fuchsia heath to suck
the nectar from their stamens,
as was once my childish habit
in the summer drizzle
of a shoreline
far from here.