heard in the shell
  Nan Williamson

For D. after breast cancer diagnosis

sea waves rise and crash
inside my keepsake conch
dark panic swells
no mere intimations    but chaos
roaring in my ear
prophetic shell    my skull's blood
rushes out of control
this primal trumpet echoes fear

let me suck black seeds    glistening caviar
crush papaya    soft flesh in my mouth
don'ttellthekidsorsistersmother
this soft ripe globe    hold in your palm
cup the bruised apple
circle areola with your thumb
crush it in your lips before the dawn

waking beside you    sun
on the morning bed    I dreamed
you saved me from the drowning waves
lift up the conch again    maybe
there’ll be new music in the shell
and you will hold it    let me hear
today’s green song

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