Walking along the beach that afternoon
That I collect my men
Like I collect shells along the shore.
I’m attracted to the dark and brooding
Exteriors of deep hues that imply mystery and secrets.
Carefully caressing them as I lower them into the tide,
Gently removing the sand
That clings to their surface; concealing their beauty from the Earth.
But after a while, I stop picking them up
Because I have already grabbed so many like them
And so only the shiny objects begin catch my eye
Because they offer something different.
The sun dancing across the embedded crystal;
The smooth, milky texture of the conch
But even the glitter loses my interest in the end.
Eventually I stop searching the ground all together.
I look out to the ocean
And find comfort in the chaos
Of sand rushing through my toes
As the waves crash mercilessly on top of my bare feet.
Swallow the lump in my throat
Feel my stomach sink and expand
My heartbeat irregular.
The epiphany that all I really needed
I carry the shells nonchalantly in my Sperry shoe
Because my hands are too small to satisfy my greed.
And when I get home I dump them into a jar,
Store the glass container in a corner to collect dust
And never give it another thought.
Until the day I feel lost,
Nostalgic for a romanticized version of the past.
I’ll eye the jar from the corner of the room
And take it from its shadowy fortress
To re-examine all of my souvenirs
And re-establish an adoration
For the rich palettes
And shimmering exteriors
Smiling at the memories we created together.