Walking along the shore of Anglo Rustico

I step on stones swept up by the tide,

prickling my feet, a free shiatsu massage.

Embedded are snails and back-floating crabs

whose entrails are strewn over pods of kelp

that pop underfoot.

Some stones are shiny and slender

shaped like a young woman’s curvaceous behind,

others so fissured, craggy and pockmarked

only a stone’s mother could love.

I score a sharp arrowhead lost by a ghost

of a Mi’kmaq hunter, find fossils of scallops

and ferns buried in ocherous sand.

A brilliant sun glints off spud-sized

lumps of fool’s gold astride a pile of sandstone.

Some stones are whiter than white, a hybrid

of marble and quartz. There’s lots of grey shale,

a few black as obsidian that must have been caught

in an undertow all the way from the Zanzibar coast.

Between interloping shards of pastel tinted beach glass

worn velvety smooth lie caramel colored pebbles snuggled

under globules of glaucous jelly fish with four worried eyes

embraced by tentacles that won’t ever let go.

Knocking against each other in a prodomal kerfuffle

they sound an alarm: outgoing tide is about to suck

them back in, knowing they’ll be holding their breath

for a while, glub-glubbing underwater till Neptune

decides to sweep them to shore.

I notice how the stones feel in my hands

and wonder if they’re resigned to a lack

of mobility; they don’t seem to mind

when I scoop them up in a bucket filling pot holes

and puddles that remain in my lane after a week-long

deluge of torrential rain.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. N.J. 07605